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MSF Activities in Darfur, Sudan
July 26, 2004
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is now working with an international staff of 125 in 17 separate locations across the Darfur region. In West Darfur, MSF runs activities in and around El Genina, Furro Burranga, Garsilla, Habillah, Kerenik, Mornay, Nyertiti and Zalingei. In South Darfur, it has operations in Nyala and Kass. In North Darfur, MSF operates in Al Fashir and Kebkabiyah.
MSF's activities across the Darfur region include:
Figures from July 16 show that MSF is now assisting just under half a million Sudanese people forced from their homes by the continuing conflict in Darfur.
Between July 5th and 11th, MSF carried out 12,241 medical consultations and gave intensive care to nearly 8,000 malnourished children. For this period in Mornay (West Darfur) alone, MSF treated 401 severely and 1,849 moderately malnourished children.
Combating malnutrition is one of the biggest challenges in the region. In many projects, MSF has installed feeding centers in which moderately malnourished children receive medical care and daily rations of high-energy food, and the severely malnourished can receive 24-hour care.
With the high concentration of displaced people, disease outbreak is a constant threat. Easily treatable diarrhea is the biggest killer, particularly affecting children under 5 years of age. In Mornay, 845 people were diagnosed as suffering from the disease between June 21st and June 27th. Other health threats include respiratory infections and malaria.
MSF has also decided to increase the number of food distributions to the families of malnourished children. At this point 30,000 rations are given out per distribution over Mornay and Zalingei. The objective is to double that number to include Nyertiti in the distribution.
The scale of the current needs mean that operations continue to be scaled up. Following the opening of a primary health care project in Sarif Omra (North Darfur), a further two programs are to be opened in the coming days. More are expected in the next few weeks with staff levels increasing accordingly.
The situation is being worsened by the beginning of the seasonal rains which have swept up from the south and have now reached the entire Darfur region. The heaviest rains strike in August and can last for up to three months, increasing the risk of epidemic outbreak and rendering large areas virtually inaccessible. In preparation, in areas such as Nyala in South Darfur, MSF is already in the process of identifying sites for cholera treatment.