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Bringing medical care to displaced people

Colombia is home to the largest number of internally displaced people in the world. Almost seven million people in the country have been forced to leave their homes by internal conflict in the country.

Particularly in the outlying agricultural regions which are home to most of the displaced people, access to basic medical services is extremely poor. Around 86 percent of the (mostly indigenous or Afro-Colombian) people in the rural regions of Magdalena and La Guajira have only limited access to medical care. Around eighty percent of the few medical facilities that there are in the region are woefully underequipped, while new settlements for internally displaced people in the region causes pressure on infrastructure to grow relentlessly. Widespread undernutrition amongst the children of the region caused by a poor food supply compounds the danger to health caused by the lack of services.

These conditions result in an extremely high rate of mother and infant mortality. The only support available to most mothers during childbirth comes from traditional midwives who lack any form of medical training.

Malteser International has been working with local partners to improve the public health situation in the regions of Magdalena and La Guajira since 2014. Improving equipment and coordination at the regions’ existing health centers is essential to achieving this, as is ensuring that locals are better able to access these facilities. Improving food security and nutrition for the population will serve to underpin these efforts.

Improve access to Primary Health Care (including mother and child health services) and psychological care for survivors of sexual violence and displacement in marginalized, rural and semi-rural communities of internally displaced people.

  • Rehabilitation and equipment of around 20 health centers
  • Establishment of a sustainable supply system for drugs, consumables, and food supplements
  • Training of health promoters and midwives in cooperation with medical schools  
  • Training of 40 health promoters    
  • Building and strengthening a women´s support network
  • Raise the level of coordination for public health actors and programs in the region

Country info

Capital: Bogota
Area: 1,138 km²
Population: 47.9 Million

Project data

Project duration: May 2016 - April 2020
Donors: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, private donations
Partner: Malteser Colombia, La Difference, PDPC

Last updated: July 2016

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