April 6, 1998
Emergency Appeal for Southern Sudan
On April 6, 1998, MSF launched an emergency appeal to fund nutrition and health programs in Bahr El Ghazal, South Sudan. About 350,000 people are currently at risk for malnutrition in the region, including 120,000 people displaced by recent fighting who are unable to harvest their crops. The entire population is suffering from the effects of last year's poor harvest, irregular rainfall and years of war. MSF has a large medical presence throughout Bahr El Ghazal, and is running twelve primary health centers. The organization also aims to vaccinate all children under five against measles-a potentially deadly epidemic.
The MSF team located in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, an area recently rocked by the massacre of ethnic Albanians, reports that the situation remains tense. The team is providing drugs and medical supplies to health structures in and around the affected region. The volunteers have also distributed blankets, winter clothing and food to the local population. The staff recently gained access to some villages in the area but problems with accessibility remain. MSF has reinforced its teams and begun operating "mobile clinics" to reach the populations in need.
Attack in Thailand
On March 23, 1998, at 1:00 a.m., the Mawker Refugee Camp on the Thai-Burmese border was attacked by forces presumed to be Myanmar-backed insurgents. The rebels remained inside the camp for one hour. Refugees sought shelter in their bunkers and many women and children fled to fields outside the camp. The fighting lasted until dawn and resulted in some injuries. MSF teams are working in conjunction with other organizations and the refugees themselves to rebuild the camp's infrastructure. Aid workers report that sanitary conditions remain bad, and diarrhea, respiratory infections and malaria are spreading throughout the area. MSF maintains a strong medical presence throughout the refugee camps in this region, providing basic health care and water and sanitation services.
Malaria Strikes in Kenya
Since mid-October 1997, heavy rains have affected the Wajir district of Kenya, an area with an estimated population of more that 200,000 people. The rains have created numerous problems including population displacement, ruined water and sanitation facilities, loss of crops and livestock, and health and nutritional problems. Outbreaks of a haemorrhagic fever and malaria began to appear in December 1997. Prior to the heavy rains, Wajir was affected by a two-year period of drought, during which malaria was almost non-existent. MSF, already present in Wajir with a drought-related water and sanitation program, has started five mobile clinics and a malaria treatment unit within the Wajir district hospital.
MSF Speaker at Gay Men's Health Crisis Forum
On Wednesday, April 29, 1998, Dr. Rosamund Lewis, an MSF medical epidemiologist, will discuss the challenges of prescribing AZT for pregnant women with AIDS in the developing world at a forum sponsored by Gay Men's Health Crisis, the National Council for International Health, and the Latino Commission on AIDS forum. The event, "Recycling Drugs for Developing Countries: Ethical and Practical Considerations," will take place on April 29, 1998 from 6-9 p.m. The forum will be held at Gay Men's Health Crisis, the Tisch Center, 119 West 24th Street, Fourth Floor, New York, NY.
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