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News for the Week of February 15, 1999
February 15, 1999
Feeding Center Opened in Angola
MSF has opened a therapeutic feeding center (TFC) in the provincial capital of Malanje in Angola. Forty-four children with symptoms of serious malnutrition have already been admitted. The TFC has the capacity to treat 200 children. A supplementary feeding center built to accommodate 400 children will begin operating at the end of this week. Two additional feeding centers will be opened at a later stage if necessary. MSF outreach workers are walking through Malanje with megaphones to inform residents about the feeding centers and the services provided there. Three MSF international volunteers are working with 30 local staff members to set up and run the Malanje centers. The situation was relatively calm in Malanje last week although there were still reports of regular bombardments in the outer suburbs and around the airfield.
War on the Border of Ethiopia and Eritrea
To treat victims of the current flare-up of violence along the border between Ethipoia and Eritrea, an MSF surgical team arrived in Mekelle, the capital of the Ethiopian province of Tigray, last week. The surgeon, an anesthesiologist, and a surgical nurse will work in Mekelle Hospital with local medical staff members who have just finished a two-month MSF surgical training course. Although fighting is not taking place in Mekelle, which is 160 kilometers from the border with Eritrea, the number of war victims arriving in the provincial capital has caused an emergency situation. Many additional wounded are reported to be on both sides of the front lines. MSF's extensive programs throughout Ethiopia continue to operate. A kala azar program in Dansha, northwestern Ethiopia, which was originally based in Humera near the Eritrean border, was moved last November when tensions began to increase. Additional MSF programs in Ethiopia include a surgical training program in Woldya Hospital in the North Wolo Region; a water and sanitation program in Sekota, North Wollo; a water program for 14,000 Sudanese refugees in Bonga, western Ethiopia; as well as extensive medical programs in Dubti in the Afar Region of northeastern Ethiopia, and Jijiga in the Somali National Regional State in eastern Ethiopia. In the southern part of the country, MSF is also operating kala azar and primary health care programs. In the capital of Addis Ababa, MSF has two HIV/AIDS programs.
Exploratory Missions in Indonesia
With the permission of the Indonesian government, MSF is carrying out exploratory missions to various parts of Indonesia to determine what MSF might do to assist the existing health care system. Instability in Indonesia has had a negative impact on the functioning of the system. One team is currently traveling in the province of Aceh on the island of Sumatra, and another team is in West Kalimantan. In the near future, assessment visits may also be made to Ambon in the Moluccas, East Timor, and the capital of Jakarta. "The Indonesian authorities are surprisingly open, which makes it possible for us to do our work much faster than we expected," says country manager Wayne Ulrich.
Post-Emergency Programs in Colombia
Immediately following the earthquake in Colombia, three MSF teams were on the scene delivering medicines, surgical supplies, clean drinking water, and shelter materials, as well as primary health care and surgical support, to victims of the disaster. Now that the initial emergency is over, MSF is evaluating long-term needs in the region. One new project will be a mental health program for those injured and displaced by the earthquake.