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Medical Attention for Some of the Poorest
Programs Support Unsettled Populations
Long-awaited change came to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in October 2000, when Slobodan Milosevic was swept from power by a popular uprising, and Vojislav Kostunica was elected president. Yet despite these events, instability has lingered, and pressing needs remain.
MSF continued to aid some of the 700,000 displaced people in Serbia, the larger of the two republics that make up Yugoslavia (the other is Montenegro). In Vranje and in the capital, Belgrade, MSF upgraded sanitation facilities at several collective centers housing internally displaced people (IDPs). MSF has provided plastic sheeting and blankets in 35 centers and coordinated visits of social workers and psychologists when warranted. Similar work is carried out in the Kraljevo/Kragujevac area, where MSF serves a population of 100,000 IDPs.
In the Presevo valley, in the south near the Macedonian border, MSF continues to assist ethnic Albanians returning from that country. MSF also donated surgical equipment to a hospital, helped expand the emergency ward from four to ten beds, and launched a mine awareness campaign.
MSF closely monitored events in Macedonia in early 2001, when Albanian separatists attacked the town of Tetovo, prompting the displacement of thousands of people toward Skopje. MSF finally determined that medical intervention was unwarranted at that time, but continued to watch the situation closely.
Kosovo Presence Scaled Down
Kosovo remains under the civil administration of the United Nations. Despite ongoing instability and periodic violence against one or another of the ethnic communities living in Kosovo, needs have increasingly become related to longer-term development. Because of this, and in order to prompt the UN administration and fledgling civilian institutions to take up responsibility for monitoring health and ensuring quality care, MSF has scaled down its work in the province. In spring 2001, MSF mobile clinics were phased out, and water and sanitation programs were closed. MSF continues its work in Pejë/Pec, where psychologists have been treating women, children, and teenagers for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) since 1999. MSF has also trained general practitioners in the recognition and referral of people with PTSD.
MSF began working in Yugoslavia in 1991, and in Kosovo in 1993.