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MSF in Sri Lanka, 2001
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Medical and Surgical Care Amid War
MSF's work in Sri Lanka is dominated by aid to victims of the country's civil war, which has taken the lives of over 60,000 people and displaced about a million others over the last fifteen years. Although a relative calming of the fighting has permitted the return of some displaced people to their homes, wounded civilians and combatants continue to flock to medical facilities.
MSF surgical intervention takes place in Point Pedro (on the Jaffna Peninsula), Vavuniya, Mallavi, and Batticaloa. MSF supports hospital surgical units in the four locations, where, in 2000, over 11,000 people underwent surgery. In Batticaloa, the burn unit was refurbished. In Mallavi, support also extends to the hospital's pediatric, gynecology, and obstetrics departments.
Near the town of Madhu, MSF provides aid to displaced people in two camps, with a special focus on antenatal care, and refers people to hospitals in Vavuniya and Mallavi as necessary. Mobile teams in these areas reach villages isolated by the shifting front lines. In Vavuniya, MSF has also helped set up community-based psychosocial services for displaced people and residents. Elsewhere, in Puthukkudiyiruppu, MSF supports the public health system, with special attention to mothers and children.
An MSF project in Murankan, which included hospital care and mobile clinics, finished in December 2000. At this time, an easing of the conflict in this area allowed Sri Lankan personnel to return to the hospital.
On the Jaffna Peninsula, MSF aids some of the area's 150,000 displaced people by monitoring the nutrition situation of the population and carrying out epidemic surveillance. MSF works to inform and coordinate relevant local actors. In addition, two pediatricians offer consultations at the Jaffna Teaching Hospital, where MSF also supplies medicines and medical material for the pediatrics department. Emphasis there and in the surrounding district is on care for children and pregnant women.
MSF began work in Sri Lanka in 1986.