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News for the Week of September 7, 1998
September 7, 1998
Southern Sudan Famine Relief Effort Strengthened; Services to Refugees in Northern Sudan Resumed
Although relief efforts into the famine-stricken province of Bahr el Ghazal in southern Sudan have been hampered due to heavy rains, MSF's overall humanitarian assistance in the region has increased in the past weeks. As of this week, a total of 180 MSF personnel from 19 countries (including 50 from Kenya) and 700 Sudanese are working to deliver food to 13,000 malnourished children in 15 feeding centers. MSF volunteers in southern Sudan are working 16 hours a day in unbearable heat to staff the feeding centers as well as provide basic medical care, including an immunization program against measles. The situation in Bahr el Ghazal remains very serious, with pockets of famine affecting displaced and local populations in the province. In addition to increasing its ability to aid the famine victims in southern Sudan, MSF has received permission to resume its humanitarian programs in the displaced persons camps around Khartoum in northern Sudan.
Mental Health Project in Tajikistan Successful
MSF has rehabilitated two mental health institutions in Tajikistan, one in the capital, Dushanbe, and one in the north of the country. MSF has renovated the facilities, improved the quality of care of patients, and provided training to personnel. Mortality among patients has decreased sharply. "Before we began our project, most patients died from malnutrition or pneumonia," recalls Karine Balyan, medical coordinator. "By improving the living conditions and providing food, clothes and bedding, we have made the patients into people once more." MSF is the only international aid organization working in the field of mental health in Central Asia and has plans to rehabilitate ten additional mental health institutions in Tajikistan during the next year.