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Massive humanitarian response needed to avoid health catastrophe in DRC

Meanwhile, the two hospitals and several health centres that we support in Masisi territory have received influxes of war-wounded patients. Over the past two months, our teams in the Ministry of Health-run hospital in Mweso have treated around 146 war-wounded people, mostly for gunshot wounds and injuries from explosions.

But the main roads to the north, west and south of Goma are inaccessible due to the insecurity and fighting, so it is extremely challenging to get supplies to these facilities. This has also severely hindered humanitarian and medical access to hundreds of thousands of people in the Masisi territory.

In parallel, fighting on the border between North and South Kivu has caused tens of thousands of people to flee mainly southwards, towards the city of Minova, which was already hosting many displaced people. People are sheltering wherever they can, in schools and in dozens of different sites.

Some of the health structures we support in the region have been overwhelmed with an increased number of patients suffering from illnesses related to the deterioration of their living conditions. But we are also seeing more cases of sexual violence and war wounded. The hospital in Minova has received over 167 injured patients since 2 February, including several women and children. In one single day, on 7 March, staff received 40 injured people and seven other people arrived dead to the facility. Patients are forced to share beds and staff work around the clock with limited resources as bullets fly very close – the frontline is just five kilometres away.

What are your biggest concerns?

At the health level, we fear a flare up of diseases again – in particular cholera, as fighting has forcing thousands to settle in overcrowded and unsanitary sites.

Combined with the lack of access to clean water, this is creating the perfect conditions for the spread of cholera. We have already been dealing with cholera in some of the camps for months, so with the new influx of people arriving it is likely to exacerbate the existing outbreak.

Fonte original msf.org

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