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MSF in Uganda, 2001
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Ebola Outbreak Draws World Attention
In October 2000, the deadly Ebola virus surfaced in northern Uganda, prompting an immediate international response, of which MSF was a part. MSF worked with Ugandan medical personnel, staff from the Centers for Disease Control in the U.S., and the World Health Organization to help care for patients and contain the outbreak. Other MSF staff continued programs focusing on sleeping sickness, kala azar, and HIV/AIDS, three of the major health threats facing the country, and provided basic and maternal medical care to residents and displaced people in some areas.
In the northern Ugandan districts of Arua, Moyo, and Adjumani, MSF works to control sleeping sickness through early detection and treatment of sufferers, all in an effort to reduce the prevalence of the disease in this area. MSF also supplies medicines to treat the disease. In east-central Uganda, MSF screens for and treats kala azar, a parasitic disease endemic in the area.
Uganda was one of the first countries in the region to face the threat of HIV/AIDS with a concerted public response. Yet the disease continues to take its toll on the country. In the hospital in Arua, as part of a new mother-and-child care program, MSF uses antiretroviral drugs to help prevent mother-to-child transmission of the HIV virus. MSF also gives financial support to a Ugandan NGO carrying out AIDS education in the districts of Moyo and Adjumani.
In and around the town of Bundi Bugyo, MSF continues to take care of malnourished children, provide basic medical care, and treat endemic diseases such as malaria. In the pediatric ward of the hospital, the introduction of the drug arthemeter under the supervision of an MSF pediatrician has helped decrease the mortality rate from malaria by 70%. MSF also works to improve hygiene and sanitation for about 150,000 displaced people living in camps near the town. In Amudat, in eastern Uganda, MSF supervises a health center that provides 800 outpatient consultations per month. There are 120 beds for inpatient care.
MSF began working in Uganda in 1982.