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  • Writer's picturekwankew

The Nyakabande Health Center

The Nyakabande Health Center set up by Medical Teams International is just minutes away from the transit center and this is where the refugees and Ugandan nationals are being seen.

In the Nyakabande Health Center, Daser the clinical house-officer told me that the number of people seen have also decreased. In days past she had her hands full just giving medications away upon hearing the symptoms, there was no time to do careful evaluations. Nowadays with fewer refugees arriving and more of them resettled fewer people are being seen. The Clinic is seeing more Ugandan nationals than refugees. In the course of running away from the conflicts many are separated from loved ones. This twelve-year-old boy is separated from his parents when the conflict broke out in his village and in the confusion of running away from the war he was herded by other refugees boarding vehicles heading for the border of Uganda. Until now the whereabouts of his family remain unknown.

This grandmother ran away with her two-year-old granddaughter. Her daughter who was then three months pregnant left behind this child when she was seven months old with the grandmother, declaring herself unable to care for her. This grandmother had raised five of her own children all grown and all fled to Uganda on their own during these last conflict, leaving her to fend for herself and the little grandchild. At the age of fifty she started nursing her granddaughter and continues to do so at the camp. Indeed she showed us that she could still express milk from her breasts.

African women are usually left with the responsibility of caring for the children. This quiet mother brought her three month-old child to be seen for diarrhea and the baby was suckling vigorously on her breast. She has fled the DRC with all five of her children under her care, her husband having fled first on his own and apparently is now resettled in Rwamwanja. Most men feared being recruited by the rebels and so many fled first without their families to slow them down.

It being the rainy season the fields are being prepared for cultivation. It is back-breaking work with only the use of hand implements and lots of volcanic rocks to contend with. Not a single man is seen working in the fields. Through my clinic window I could see the women working for hours patiently and relentlessly while a couple of cows lie lazily under the sun chewing their cud and where oh where are the men in the fields. All day refugees and Ugandan nationals came traipsing in to be seen. An old man came in with a bad cut on his left ring finger slicing off part of the nail and nail pad with a machete. He wrapped it up with a strip of plastic but it was completely soaked with blood. We washed the wound copiously, dressed it up, instructed him to return for dressing change and sent him home after a tetanus shot.

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