By Cathy Burke
In June 2019, I spent one week working with MedGlobal in Cucuta, Colombia, providing antenatal and gynecology outpatient care to Venezuelan refugees who migrated into Colombia. My visit to the Colombian-Venezuelan border really brought home the extent of the exodus of Venezuelans from their country. Witnessing the constant stream of people walking across the border made me wonder what it must take to force so many people to walk out of their country into an uncertain future. Many of the pregnant women I cared for received no regular antenatal care in Venezuela and had not been tested for anemia or any infectious diseases in their pregnancy.
Patients with gynecological or medical conditions missed out on months of treatment as their medications were either not available or too expensive to afford in their home country. After visiting the local university hospital, I became aware of the impact of the refugee influx on the functioning of the local healthcare system. The generosity of the Colombian state in continuing to welcome refugees into the country was impressive to me.
I found my week’s work at the clinic in Cucuta to be very meaningful. Patients were really appreciative of the service and showed great dignity in the face of the difficult times they are living through. The project was well organized with excellent local and international staff. I felt secure in the project and the city during my time there. I consider my time in this mission to have been very well spent and I will carry the memories of my time in Cucuta with me for a long time.
Watch the video below to learn about MedGlobal in Colombia!