East Great Earthquake Fukushima Sou-Sou project report 7
2014 marks the third year since the earthquake, and Doctors of the World, a non profit organization which offers medical services,continue their efforts under the title”Bear in mind, project to continue mental care of Fukushima”.
They have submitted February’s report regarding medical support from MdMJ given in the village of Kawachi, which is in the Fukushima Prefecture. The people of Kawachi began to return home once the area had been declared restricted areas in April, 2012. Around a quarter of residents have returned to the village, which is without basic infrastructure due to most amenities like medical centres, retail outlets and high schools being in the neighbouring towns of Tomioka and Okuma, both of which are still difficult-to-return zone.
There are a large number of senior citizens among the returnees, and many of them have been left to fend for themselves. We have begun to see cases of elderly persons developing dementia as a result of this.
MdMJ have sent both psychiatrists and mental health specialists to the village where they have worked to prevent cognitive impairment and offer support to families who are caring for those with dementia. They are also offering consultations, which support the concept of rebuilding the village into the kind of place to which people would want to return home. Last year they made various efforts with a new concept called “team of encouraging the elderly to be active for their own health” MdMJ have joined, and been active, in this network of supporters.
On the 7th of Feburary, a joint session meeting was opened by the members of the “Encouraging the elderly to be active for their own health” at the meeting hall in the village’s Koriyama temporary housing unit to discuss a number of relevant topics and to look back on past efforts. At the meeting there was a lively discussion about the best way to continue bringing people back home to the village from the Koriyama relief housing unit now and in the future, as well as discussions about what kind of expression would best connect the ideals held by the elderly to even more action.
Then in the afternoon they rented out one of the rooms in the housing unit where families of those who have, or are at risk of developing, dementia could have consultations with Morikawa Suimei, a mental health professional from MdMJ.
They made an invitation for medical practitioners to come to the the village to make prescriptions and give advice on how to make medical visits, recognize illnesses as well as other serious issues and make sure that patients remember to take their medicine. Not only that, but they also made efforts to transfer to those families caring for victims of dementia, or those who are showing signs of dementia, to places where they could receive the treatments they needed.
MdMJ have plans to remain a member of the Kawachisupport network and continue its support efforts.
Coordinator, Fukushima Sou-Sou project