contrary to what the government claims, the response is not “adequate”, according to Médecins du monde

The coordinator of Médecins du monde in Mayotte recognized, on Friday, the “efforts made by the government” but pointed out failures.


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A man in a shantytown in Mayotte, May 27, 2023. (PHILIPPE LOPEZ / AFP)

Despite the “huge efforts made by the government to mobilize additional human resources to try to contain it as quickly as possible” the cholera epidemic in Mayotte, its response is not “adequate”indicates Marion Ramstein, coordinator of Médecins du monde on site, Friday May 10 on franceinfo.

Words which contradict those of the Minister Delegate in charge of Health, Frédéric Valletoux. Unlike the Comoros, “we see that in Mayotte, the response is adequate”, he declared on site on Thursday, after the epidemic caused the first death. It is a three-year-old girl who died Wednesday evening.

“Take into account the conditions of access to water”

“Thinking of a response to fight cholera without taking into account the conditions of access to water is not very effective and above all, we must take into account the barriers which mean that people cannot go to the health centers”continues Marion Ramstein.

In fact, she notes “an intensification of arrests in direct proximity to health centers, or even in waiting rooms”, which deters illegal immigrants from going there. Arrests also take place “during marauding or during care activities”.

In the fight against the epidemic, this constitutes “significant brakes”. Also, she “request” that “public health issues are prioritized over police, gendarmerie and border police operations.” Another subject of concern: the return to classes of students, Monday May 13, after the holidays. “It’s going to be a catalyst for the spread of the disease,” she says. If “for the moment, the situation is controlled and concentrated in certain slum areas, we are very worried about the spread on a wider scale on the island”.

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