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MSF Liberia Activity Update
September 24, 2003
Last week MSF has opened a therapeutic feeding center (TFC) in Buchanan where more than 110 children have been admitted. More than 60 children are also receiving supplementary feeding. MSF will be opening a second TFC in Buchanan and a third one in Monrovia, where more than 150 children are currently being treated in TFCs at Mamba Point and Bushrod Island. In Tubmanburg MSF has hospitalised 20 severly malnourished children and blanket feedings are being organised in camps in Bong county.
Besides operating two free full-service hospitals in Monrovia - Redemption Hospital (130 beds) and Mamba point Hospital (50 beds) - MSF also reopened Island Hospital, 50 bed pediatric facility and Benson Hospital with 75 beds as well as out-patient facilities. In Redemption and Island hospitals, the number of admissions is on the increase, especially in the pediatric and obstetric/gynecologist wards. In at least six of the eleven MSF clinics the number of consultations has increased as well, now 20% higher compared to before the war. MSF is treating 1500 to 2000 patients per day and some facilities are so saturated that people have to be referred.
The most common health problems are cholera, malaria, watery diarrhoea and measles. MSF has introduced the artemisinin-containing combination therapy (ACT), the most effective malaria treatment today, in several of its clinics in Monrovia. The number of cholera admissions is decreasing, but a survey concludes that an epidemic peak is likely to occur in October. MSF is supplying over 300,000 liters of drinking and washing water daily to centers for displaced persons.
The camps for internally displaced people
In Bong county, where tens of thousands of refugees fled two weeks ago, people have returned to the camps of Totota and Maimu where MSF is running health clinics, cholera treatment units and TFCs. ECOMIL has deployed in the region, but fighting is said to continue more to the north. In the camp of Salala, south of Totota on the road to Monrovia, MSF has organised a blanket feeding for 3000 children last week. 38 severely malnourished children were transferred to a TFC in Salala. This week a blanket feeding is being organised for more than 9000 children in Maimu.
In Montserrado county, MSF is operating medical clinics in the camps of Plumcor (3900 displaced), Rick's (5000 displaced) and Seighbe (6260 displaced). The medical teams do an average of 500 consultations per week per camp. 25% of the patients suffer from malaria and another 25% from acute respiratory infections. Other problems are diarrhoea and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). A measles campaign is in preparation. The program combatting sexual violence has started in all three camps. In each camp a reference person - generally an older woman - has been identified to help victims find medical care and to raise awareness about STDs.
MSF has worked in Liberia since 1990 and currently has 59 international and over 1000 national staff running hospitals, clinics, therapeutic feeding centers, cholera treatment centers, and assisting internally displaced people.