Looking after Venezuelan Immigrants in Colombia

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Doctors Without Borders has lately started operating in Colombia’s La Guajira Department, Riohacha, to provide the medical needs of Venezuelan migrants, Colombians relocating from Venezuela, and native inhabitants who do not have access to healthcare. The institution is also looking after Venezuelan refugees in the border regions of Arauca, Colombia, and Norte de Santander. MSF regularly gives outpatient services in Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios healthcare, in Riohacha and will shortly start moving clinics in both rural and urban regions throughout the town. Besides these, they will provide primary health care, family planning assistance, mental health care, and data on social services for refugees.

Pregnant Women to get Priority

MSF project coordinator, Elsa Soto, said in the initial days that they will focus on giving expectant women prenatal care. Most patients identified are of Venezuelan origin. Majority of the pregnant women have not accessed prenatal care earlier, and they are in their second trimester of pregnancy. It is worrying since prenatal care is essential to avoid and screen for difficulties and illnesses. Patients are from Riohacha as well as neighboring towns and rural areas.

The Migrant’s Requirements

Medical care accessibility and other vital living conditions have worsened in Venezuela because of severe political, social, and economic crises, resulting in about more than 3.4 million Venezuelans fleeing the country in recent years. Thirty-two-year-old refugee, Carla M., arrived in southeast Colombia’s Norte de Santander Department on the Venezuelan border with her kids towards the end of 2018. They departed from their residence in Ciudad Ojeda, Venezuela as they could not afford three meals in a day. In 2018, an MSF emergency group responded numerous times to the requirements of individuals arriving in Norte de Santander. As from November 2018, MSF also began clinics for the immigrant population in treatment centers in the district of La Gabarra and towns of Puerto Santander and Tibú.

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