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Ukraine, Opytne: No cars, no roads, no health care. At front line.

Ukraine, Opytne: No cars, no roads, no health care. At front line. They do not have cars and there are no accessible roads to the village. However, the front line is near. People in the east-eastern village of Opytne are cut off from the world and have no access to healthcare and basic medicines. For this reason, the Mobile Médecins Sans Frontières team has begun to provide them with basic health care and psychological consultations.

The Opytne village lies on a front line in an area controlled by the Ukrainian government, across from the devastated Donetsk airport in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic. Without the possibility of any traffic and isolation from bad weather, most of the people in this village are elderly people living in constant stress from a war conflict in the region. Due to nearby shelling, residents suffer from acute anxiety and depression. People with chronic problems such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and diabetes do not have regular access to medical care.

The team of MSF has found in the demolished houses of the population the help of international organizations that provide them with food, heat and electricity. Despite these conditions, many people refuse to leave their homes. The Mobile team of MSF has therefore begun to provide basic health care and psychological consultations to residents of the village. Since 14 December, there has been a doctor, nurse and psychologist who have been using the home of one of the locals as their surgery.

"Without the possibility of visiting a doctor, the residents in Opytne treated themselves, measuring pressure and prescribing medication. Since there are no roads and there are no cars in the village, residents have to walk a few kilometers across the field to the nearby town of Avdijivka, "says
Myriam Berry, Project Coordinator of the Doctors Without Borders project for the Donetsk region.

"The proximity of the front line and the sounds of nearby shelling cause the daily stresses of the people. It's the deepest despair I have ever seen since I arrived in May 2017. Of the ten patients we examined, half of them had blood pressure over 200, indicating constant stress, "
Berry adds.

It is only possible to reach Opytne through a narrow, dusty field road that runs along the front line. The other entrances are probably mined or their use was limited by the Ukrainian army. "After the initial assessment of the situation, we tried to get into the village for two months. The approach has complicated the security situation and the bad weather that was causing the landslide. We now want to investigate all residents who need medical care and we want to provide them with drugs for the next two months in case we have a problem with access to the village again. "

MSF provides medical care and psychological support through mobile clinics in 28 locations in the Donetsk region, with four teams based in Mariupol and Kurachov. Most MSF patients are women aged 50 years and older who suffer from chronic illnesses. MSF psychologists help local people to cope with the impact of the conflict on mental health. They lead individual and group sessions, disseminate mental health education, and teach residents of the affected area, teachers and medical staff of stress management techniques.


Source: tz Doctors Without Borders, edited editorially



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