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War-Displaced Now Vulnerable to Malaria
MSF started working in Eritrea shortly before war with Ethiopia flared up in May 2000. After working through the war and in the post-war period, MSF is now winding down its activities in Eritrea.
However, at the request of the Eritrean Ministry of Health (MOH), MSF is remaining in the Tserona area through the fall malaria season. Malaria is endemic in the area, and, because the population lost much of its immunity after two years in IDP camps in the highlands, MSF will stay on hand to respond to any potential malaria epidemic.
Aid Focused on Displaced During and After War
Initial activities focused on aid to people displaced by the fighting, in 24 camps in the Debub, Gash Barka, and Red Sea zones. MSF provided basic health care, epidemiological surveillance, care for the malnourished, vaccinations, and water and sanitation support. MSF also distributed jerrycans, blankets, tents, and plastic sheeting.
Hostilities ceased in June 2000, and in the following months thousands of people were able to return home.
With the MOH taking charge of most of the needs of the displaced, MSF's work in the camps started to wind down in late 2000 and was finally completed in June 2001.
Meanwhile, MSF turned its attention to Senafe and Tserona, two sub-zones of Debub that had been occupied by the Ethiopian army during the fighting, and to some areas in Gash Barka. In Senafe, the hospital had been destroyed and the health posts closed. In February 2001, MSF opened a small clinic that has about 80 consultations a day, and put up a 30-bed tent hospital. In May, MSF finished its work in the area when the Eritrean authorities returned to the zone, as mandated by the ceasefire agreement. In Tserona and in Gash Barka, during summer 2001 MSF helped prepare for the return of the displaced by focusing on emergency repairs to health facilities and water sources.