What did you do today(Oct 6)? MSF’s mobile clinic today was in Pasig City, in Manila. The whole area is still submerged in flood water, which is chest high in many places. They are predicting that the flood will take 3 months to subside in this area! Despite this, there were still many people, riding makeshift boats or wading in the water. It was a challenge to get there. We had to leave our car, ride a ‘jeepney’, cross the river on a motorboat, then transfer to a smaller boat to navigate the narrow streets. We performed the mobile clinic in the second floor of a house. We saw 92 patients today, most of whom had respiratory infections, watery diarrhea, skin infections, or a combination of all three. I think it is safe to assume that majority of these diseases are a direct consequence of the floods. Currently, this community does not have any access to health care because the local health post is flooded. What are the medical needs? Right now, the diseases are simple and preventable. However, if left untreated, they can become quite serious, especially in the areas that are still flooded. These communities need regular access to quality health care. Water, sanitation and hygiene services are also essential. What useful role can MSF play? MSF has been trying to deliver health care to areas that have not yet been reached by the ongoing relief effort. These areas are mostly urban poor communities that are still flooded, making access difficult. Once again, MSF is going where others cannot go.
Dr Natasha Reyes-TICZON, a Filipino doctor sent out from MSF Hong Kong, is working with emergency team to provide medical assistance in flooding areas in Philippines. Here she talks about her work on the front line.