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MSF in Bolivia, 2001
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Diverse Activities Foster Health Education
On the outskirts of the Bolivian capital, La Paz, densely populated Ciudad de El Alto counts around half a million inhabitants. In late 2000, MSF launched a program to strengthen mother and child care in districts 5 and 6 of El Alto, which together make up the largest pocket of poverty in the country. In July 2001, a new holistic health center for women opened. It offers family planning services as well as a forum for women to express their health care needs. Counseling on domestic violence and psychological matters is also available.
Since 1999, MSF has been running a primary health care program in Chimoré, a rural community in central Bolivia. The goal is to improve basic health care and sanitary conditions for the area's mix of settlers, indigenous people, and seasonal workers who come to harvest coca, bananas, and pineapples. MSF built a new health care center next to Chimoré's old dilapidated structure, and refurbished area health posts and water and sanitation facilities.
Education is a big part of work in Chimoré. In schools, the emphasis is on health and hygiene, while maternal education stresses nutrition, mother and child care, and sexual education. A daily radio program informs the population about services available through their national health care coverage and takes up such topics as nutrition, hygiene, vaccination, and reproductive health.
In late January 2001, floods affected around 5,000 people in Viacha, 45km from Ciudad de El Alto. MSF donated blankets, medicines, and medical material and installed ten water tanks.
MSF has been working in Bolivia since 1987.