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News for the Week of May 3, 1998
May 3, 1998
Civilians are Severely Mutilated in Sierra Leone, As Fighting Continues; Refugee Move Planned for Liberia
An MSF surgical team working in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, has treated 128 patients suffering from severe mutilations since April 6, 1998. The victims, mostly civilians, come from the northeastern region of Kono, where insecurity is rife. The surgical team has been working at Connaught Hospital in Freetown, since 1997. MSF also supports four other clinics in Freetown. For details see our press release dated May 5, 1998.
MSF Safe Sex Campaign Brings Results in Moscow
Since 1996, MSF has been conducting HIV education and prevention activities in Russia. In the last two years alone an estimated 7,000 people in the Russian Federation have been infected with HIV, and the number is rising. In June 1997, working in close cooperation with local health authorities, MSF launched a public education campaign aimed at young people, who are most at risk. The campaign used television and radio spots, advertisements in buses and subways, and informational pamphlets to reach kids between the ages of 15 to 25. To understand whether the campaign has been effective, a survey targeting 1,228 young people was recently carried out by the MSF Moscow team. Eighty-seven percent of those questioned were familiar with the campaign, and 83 percent said they had found the campaign beneficial. More than one-quarter still felt it was unnecessary to use a condom to protect themselves from HIV, showing the need for continued education. MSF also runs HIV/AIDS programs in St. Petersburg and Yarislav, and plans to expand its HIV-prevention activities in Russia later this year when pilot projects open in Kalingrad (where HIV rates are even higher than New York City), Novosibirsk, and Rostov.
Burma: AIDS Campaign Successful
MSF has distributed HIV/AIDS information for the past three months to local aid organizations in Burma, where in 1996 half a million people were infected with HIV, according to the World Health Organization. The awareness campaign, which targets young people, pregnant women, and prostitutes and their clients, has been a great success. In the past three months the team has distributed 125 informational videos, and 700 posters, and, pamphlets. Another 60,000 pamphlets will be distributed in the next two months. MSF team members also provide HIV/AIDS counseling to sex workers in Rangoon and their clients. The organization has provided training to 20 health care and aid workers so that they can bring counseling and information to populations in outlying areas. The project was begun because public awareness of safe sex practices and HIV transmission remains extremely low and the rates of AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases continue to rise.
Population of Kayanza Province in Burundi Faces Food Shortage
In May 1998, MSF will open new therapeutic feeding centers in the Kayanza province which will provide provide treatment to 300 malnourished children a day. Burundi is facing a food crisis of worsening proportions due to population displacement resulting from rebel attacks. More than 40,000 people in the province have been displaced and are unable to harvest their crops. The population is also suffering from the effects of torrential rains and floods in October 1997. Four nutritional feeding centers already exist in the province, yet, these centers in recent months have become overpopulated and are inaccessible to many refugees.
North Korean Suffers From Food Shortage
One of the world's most closed societies, North Korea has been experiencing a severe food shortage since 1997, as a result of disastrous agricultural policies. Yet, while government officials have acknowledged a full-scale famine, they have restricted access by international aid agencies to most of the population, so it has not been fully possible to document the extent of the problem.
MSF Participates in AIDS Walk On Sunday May 17, 1998
On Sunday, May 17, 1998, a team of MSF volunteers, staff, and friends, will be walking in the 13th annual Gay Men's Health Crisis AIDS Walk in New York. MSF runs HIV/AIDS programs in 22 countries, including Cuba, Uganda, Peru, Kenya, Russia, Armenia, and Congo (the former Zaire).
MSF Hosts An Evening of Conversation
On Tuesday, May 19, 1998, MSF will host a discussion with Professor Marouf Keita, M.D. from the Department of Pediatrics, Gabriel Toure Hospital, in Bamako, Mali and Bernard Pécoul, M.D. from Médecins Sans Frontières/Epicentre, Paris.