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MSF in Peru, 2002
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Push for generic leishmaniasis drug
Quality health care is still not assured for people living in Peru's isolated rural areas and urban slums. In woodland areas, diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as leishmaniasis is difficult and expensive; while lack of means and precarious social conditions in urban areas often impede access to care. MSF provides care to people in both settings.
Since early 2001, MSF has diagnosed and treated cutaneous and mucocutaneous leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease of the skin and mucous membranes transmitted by manta blanca sandfly bites, in San Martin de Pangoa, Satipo province. Some 250 patients were treated in the year ending July 2002. MSF does active case searching, treatment and follow- up, and trains local medical staff. Through its Access to Essential Medicines Campaign, MSF is also working with the Peruvian authorities to introduce generic sodium stibogluconate, an effective and affordable treatment for this disease.
MSF is working in four districts of the capital Lima to improve access and quality of care for people with HIV/AIDS and to promote prevention of this and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). At Maria Auxiliadora Hospital, the team offers outpatient consultations and trains local medical workers in counseling and integral care for AIDS patients. Activities include home visits, counseling and treatment of opportunistic infections. A second HIV/AIDS and STD prevention and care program is run in Lurigancho prison, Lima's largest and most overcrowded jail. MSF's Access to Essential Medicines Campaign is also working with the Peruvian network "Colectivo por la Vida" to increase access to affordable antiretroviral medicines.
After working for five years to address sexual and reproductive health, child abuse and violence in the Lima slum Villa El Salvador, MSF transferred its project to the Ministry of Health in March 2002. A new MSF program started working with some of the poorest neighborhoods in July 2002 to support children and adolescent victims of violence and sexual abuse.
MSF has been present in Peru since the end of 1985.