For the past three months, a Tamil woman has been living in a concentration camp in Menik farm with her husband and three children.
Two weeks ago, her five-year-old son had a fever and was barely responding. She carried him to the clinic in the camp at 5am and queued until 6pm to see a doctor. Like many others that day, she did not get to see a doctor and she returned with her sick child to their tent without receiving treatment. She went back the next day and again failed to see a doctor after waiting for another 13 hours. It wasn’t until the third day that she finally managed to see a doctor who gave her some antibiotics.
The doctors in the concentration camps are seeing 200 to 300 patients a day, there is little capacity to carry out tests or follow up with patients and only the most urgent cases are transferred to hospitals outside the camps.
Another 24-year-old woman arrived in Menik Farm at the end of May and is badly disfigured since a fragment of bomb shell cut her lips, cheeks and chins during the conflict. Her mouth is always open, her tongue is badly affected and she can barely drink and cannot speak. She is in need of reconstructive surgery, which is not available inside the camp.
When her wounds became infected, she went in pain to the camp’s clinic. There a doctor was unable to do anything for her and she was not transferred to a hospital outside the camp because she was not considered to be an emergency case. She spends her days lying in the sand outside her tent, waiting for the day to pass.