Richard King
International Paramedic Practice, Vol. 3, Iss. 2, 07 May 2013, pp 41 - 46

Following five explosions in Brazzaville, the Republic of Congo on 4 March 2012, a field hospital was flown in from South Africa to help deal with the aftermath. Donated by the Ichikowitz Family Foundation, it aimed to treat the injured patients who were in excess of 2300.

On arrival, a singular old-style army tent, sponsored by the French petroleum company Total, was the only medical service on the site. The tent was manned by staff from the French charity Médecins d'Afrique.

Building the hospital from the ground up took eight days and several late nights,
during which time the population of the neighbouring refugee camp was growing. A four metre high wooden fence was built around the camp and hospital to keep some sort of control. The Red Cross and several other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) became actively involved, supplying clean water and food aid to the people.

Since the events of 4 March 2012, the field hospital has gone on to provide medical aid to the communities of Brazzaville, dealing predominantly with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), tuberculosis (TB), cholera, hepatitis A, typhoid and malaria.

This article is a personal perspective that explains the origins of the field hospital and the work that it has done since 2012.

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