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MSF in Liberia, 2002
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Assisting people displaced by conflict
Since early 2001, the people of Liberia have experienced increased instability because of fighting both within and beyond the country's borders. Waves of displaced Liberians have flowed southeast towards the capital Monrovia or east towards Côte d'Ivoire. Others have sought shelter in Sierra Leone, only to turn back to Liberia and become displaced in their own country. MSF has spoken out at the United Nations Security Council, most recently in May 2002, condemning the lack of protection for civilians. MSF also issued a report on the humanitarian situation in the conflict-scarred region, "Populations Affected by War in the Mano River Region of West Africa: Issues of Protection."
In Liberia, MSF's work has followed the displaced themselves. Fighting in Lofa county in the northwest and along the border with Sierra Leone throughout 2001 sparked an exodus of people in search of safety in Bong and Grand Cape Mount counties. Insecurity and military harassment as well as lack of food often pushed people to travel through dangerous areas. MSF assisted the displaced where possible, and denounced the violence inflicted upon them by the civilian and military authorities. Fighting intensified in December 2001, spreading south to Montserrado and Margibi counties in the spring. By mid-2002, a third of the country had been drawn into the conflict, and MSF was providing medical aid in an ever-shifting network of camps and temporary settlements in Bong and Margibi, and on the outskirts of Monrovia.
Other programs focus on daily health needs in Monrovia and the southeastern town of Harper. In the capital, MSF works at Redemption Hospital and four local clinics, where nearly 17,000 people a month seek consultations, and cares for 130 people a month at a cholera treatment center. Since early 2002, it has also supported two clinics on Bushrod Island providing basic health care for some of the area's 50,000 people, many of them displaced. In Harper, MSF has supported the government hospital and several health posts since 1997.
Malaria is endemic in Liberia. After a July 2001 study showed high levels of resistance in Harper to the standard treatments chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, MSF introduced a new treatment protocol in April 2002 based on artemisinin derivatives with amodiaquine. MSF is pushing for the introduction of artemisinin-containing combination therapy in many areas in Africa. =
MSF has been working in Liberia since 1990.