Honduras: MSF provides medical and mental health care to thousands of people affected by Hurricanes Eta and Iota

Honduras 2020 © MSF

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is providing medical and mental health care to thousands of people affected by Hurricanes Eta and Iota in Choloma, Honduras. Between November 3 and November 18, MSF’s teams of medical, mental health, and health promotion staff, assisted 13,260 people in 79 shelters across Choloma.

MSF carried out 767 medical consultations, mostly treating respiratory and skin infections. MSF’s mental health staff have held 81 group mental health sessions and 76 individual sessions. Many of MSF’s mental health patients have showed signs of acute stress and depression.

MSF’s health promotion teams have focused their outreach activities on providing information on COVID-19 prevention, sexual and reproductive health, mental health, and support available for victims of sexual violence—which has been reported in the shelters.

MSF has also delivered hygiene kits, clean water, personal protective equipment (PPE)—to protect against COVID-19—and medical supplies, including contraceptives.

"We have [constantly evaluated] the situation caused by the hurricanes,” said Juan Carlos Arteaga, MSF project coordinator in Choloma. “We are mobilizing [our] teams in the fastest and most effective way possible to be able to bring comprehensive health services to the people who need them most."

An estimated three million people have been affected by the hurricanes in Honduras, and 55,435 people have been evacuated to shelters. In Choloma, it is estimated that the shelters are at 80 percent capacity, and this number continues to increase as people are forced to evacuate. Currently, only nine out of 16 health centers in Choloma are operating.

MSF has provided humanitarian medical support in Honduras for 46 years. MSF's first intervention in Honduras was in 1974, in the context of Hurricane Fifi, and since then it has provided independent, neutral, and impartial medical care in response to various crises that have affected the country. In Choloma, MSF also provides health care at a mother and child clinic, offering family planning, pre and postnatal consultations, sexual and reproductive health care, including contraceptives, and psychological support to victims of violence, including sexual violence.