In Gatumba, a state-of-the-art health post for the benefit of internally displaced people – Malawi

Two years after the floods that hit Burundi, in Gatumba, the site for the displaced is still very fragile, especially in this rainy season, but life goes on despite the difficulties

By Fatoumata Tandiang

At the Kinyinya II health center, Francine, Sonia and Pascaline wait their turn to see the doctor.

It’s morning and there are already people. “We receive on average 50, 60 and 80 people a day and among them there are many children”, explains Angeline Iradukunda, head of care services at the Kinyinya II site.

The site was set up in September 2020 under the coordination of the Ministry of Health, with the support of UNICEF through the Sida and Médecins Sans Frontières funds.

Indeed, thanks to the Swedish fund, UNICEF rehabilitated the advanced health post and provided some supplies, in particular essential drugs, material and sanitary equipment through the IEHK* kits. “Here at the advanced care post, everything was done with the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with MSF, UNICEF. UNICEF has also supported the training and relocation of staff here to Kinyinya II,” said Dr Jean-Paul Ndayishimiye, Chief Medical Officer of Isaré District. Sobel’s advanced healthcare provider also received the same aids.

Sonia, 20, and her daughter Blancheline, 3, came to consult. Blancheline is fine. They have been living in the displaced persons camp for two years now. “I have personally benefited a lot from having this health post set up, as I often get sick. When I come here, they welcome me and take care of me,” she said.

For Francine, 28, hairdresser and her 12-year-old son, it’s a whole different story. Francine has only been living in the camp for a few months (July 2021). At the start of the floods, she was lucky to be hosted by a family for a long time. As conditions improve, Francine can return home, except that in 2021 a second flood hits her home. There, she loses everything and now lives in the displaced persons camp. In the camp, she continues her activity as a hairdresser for a few Burundian francs. “Today it is my son who is sick, and every time I come here, the nurses check him and give him medicine. It is a great relief for me.”

As for Pascaline, 54, she went back and forth to the camp for the displaced. Indeed, she lived for a time in the camps for the displaced, before returning home. Unfortunately, his house will not survive the second wave of flooding. She therefore returned to live in the IDP camp. She lost her husband 5 years ago and now lives alone. This morning she came to see the nurse. “Before the floods, I lived in my house and ran a small vegetable business. After the floods, I no longer had the means to continue my activities and today I live in the camp.”

The health post is regularly supplied with essential drugs against malaria, parasitosis, gastroenteritis, acute respiratory infections, etc. by the health district of Isaré thanks to the support of UNICEF and other partners. “For malaria, the ministry has made the supplies available, we really have everything we need. This is the disease for which patients consult the most and it kills many, ”explains Dr Jean-Paul Ndayishimiye.

For complicated cases or serious illnesses, patients are referred to hospitals for better management.

At the health post of Kinyinya II in Gatumba, it is already the end of the visits and the staff are satisfied to have been able to serve all the patients who came today, because tomorrow is another day….

To support the response to the Gatumba floods, the fund provided care for 18,415 cases of illness in 2021, including 5,243 children under the age of 5.

*IEHK=Inter-Agency Emergency Health Kits

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