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MSF in Uganda, 2002
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Fight against malaria and HIV/AIDS gathers pace
MSF's work in Uganda has increasingly focused on diseases such as malaria, AIDS and kala azar (visceral leishmaniasis), while work to combat sleeping sickness has wound down after 16 years. MSF continues primary and maternal medical care to residents and displaced people in some areas.
The Bundibugyo area, where MSF has been working since 1999, is home to about 150,000 people, 120,000 of whom are displaced people living in about 60 camps. MSF's work in an area hospital and through a mobile clinic reaching the displaced has shown malaria to be the main reason for hospitalizations and consultations. MSF is assessing resistance to malaria drugs and is working to implement adequate treatment protocols in the district.
Over the last year, MSF has begun offering direct antiretroviral (ARV) treatment to AIDS sufferers in a number of developing countries, including Uganda. By July 2002, MSF's HIV/AIDS program at the hospital in Arua had started providing ARV treatment. MSF has already been using ARV drugs at the same hospital since July 2000 to help prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. The building of an HIV/AIDS clinic, which will make possible separate care and counseling facilities, is under way. The temporary clinic in the hospital has about 350 regular patients.
MSF is completing its 16-year intervention to fight sleeping sickness in northern Uganda in September 2002. Since 1986, the MSF program has treated over 17,000 people; trained local medical staff at a variety of levels; and met its goal of reducing the prevalence of the disease. Moreover, after several years of pushing for the introduction of eflornithine to treat advanced cases, MSF gained authorization to implement this newer, less toxic treatment in Omugo health center at the end of May 2002.
In Amudat, in eastern Uganda, MSF continues to screen for and treat kala azar, a deadly parasitic disease endemic in the area. About 30 patients, many crossing the border from Kenya, are treated each month. In the same area, MSF manages a health center that provides 800 outpatient consultations per month, with 120 beds for inpatient care.
MSF began working in Uganda in 1982.