In 2015, MSF shifted its focus in Colombia away from conflict-related projects to providing mental healthcare.
As a result of peace talks, the conflict has decreased in intensity over the last year. The mobile clinics and health posts that MSF was running in the rural areas of Cauca Pacífico were wound down and the clinics finally closed in December. The mental health programme supporting victims of violence, including sexual violence, in Cauca Cordillera is set to close in mid-2016. An emergency response team has been established to intervene when needed in Nariño, Norte de Santander and Uraba. This team, and those of the projects, responded to 39 emergencies during the year, most of them between April and June due to conflict when the ceasefire between FARC and the government broke down.
Throughout the year, MSF teams in Tumaco municipality in Nariño offered mental health support to over 1,500 people who had suffered violence, and offered comprehensive care (medical care and mental health) to 240 victims of sexual violence.
In Buenaventura, where crime rates are very high, a centre offering free, around-the-clock telephone counselling for victims of violence, including sexual violence, was set up in February. Since then, 1,099 people have been assisted.
No. staff in 2014: 105 | Expenditure: €2.5 million | Year MSF first worked in the country: 1985 | msf.org/colombia
Camilo* – 30 year old man from Buenaventura
"Ten years ago my life was quiet but as the violence intensified the only way to continue living and to protect my family was by joining an illegal armed group. I became one of the most respected guys in the area. In a fight with another group I was beaten and suffered paralysis to the left side of my body … I learned about MSF and have been undergoing psychological therapy for two months already. I am learning how to live with my disability."
* Name has been changed