In the spring of 2018 Pol Heredero has completed a nine-month posting with Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) as Logistics Coordinator in Bukavu, in South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The provinces of North and South Kivu were at the epicenter of the Congo wars and have remained unstable ever since. An estimated 120 armed groups are active and 850,000 people in the province (or 15 per cent of the population) live in displaced-persons camps. Many displaced people, especially in South Kivu, either live in the woods or are sheltered in host communities, increasing the vulnerability of the host families. Access to healthcare is a challenge due to poor infrastructure and financial barriers in a cost-recovery health system. This is aggravated by constant insecurity due to the conflict that often constrains movement and access to the population.
As a logistician Pol’s role involved organizing the movement of staff and supplies across this terrain, negotiating mudslides and the changing dynamics of a conflict zone to ensure that patients could access life-saving medical care.