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MSF in Rwanda, 2005
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In addition to addressing substantial health problems in Rwanda, MSF is assisting survivors of the country's 1994 genocide in which an estimated 800,000 people were killed.
In Kigali, the capital, MSF cares for HIV-positive people at the Kimironko and Kinyinya health centers. These projects offer comprehensive AIDS care including voluntary counseling and testing, treatment of opportunistic infections and medication to help prevent mother-to-child transmission of the virus. Patients in both locations can obtain life-extending antiretroviral (ARV) medicines, supplied in part by MSF, if needed. By mid-2005, 1,340 patients in the Kigali area were using ARVs. To help prevent further spread of the disease, MSF provides public education, particularly to those with high-risk behavior, about prevention methods, available treatments and the services it offers through two health centers. MSF is also helping health authorities implement the national AIDS policies and is encouraging them to use generic ARVs as less-expensive alternatives to patented brands.
MSF has been working with three local associations since August 2000 to provide psychological help to survivors of the 1994 genocide. A team of five psychologists supervises 12 MSF-trained trauma counselors from partner associations and assists them in supporting women, many of whom who were raped during the genocide and contracted AIDS. Individual support and group therapy sessions are held to help women cope with their emotions and develop stronger social connections. MSF has helped the local group of counselors to train and monitor 45 psychosocial community workers who now run therapeutic discussion groups in villages.
Another team offers reproductive health services to women living in Ruhengeri province, which borders Uganda. This work is based in the maternity ward of the provincial hospital and in six health centers in the Gitare health district. Working closely with the community, MSF assists with obstetrical emergencies, medical and psychological care for survivors of sexual violence, implementation of family planning in the health centers, ensuring access to basic health care and maintenance of general reproductive health services (staff training, sexually transmitted infection prevention, delivery and post-natal care and improving health during pregnancy). In early 2005, the program began providing ARV treatment in three health centers.
In mid-2004, MSF launched new choleraprevention activities on the Gafunzo peninsula of southwestern Cyangugu province. MSF provides public education about hygiene and works with government ministries and individual communities to rehabilitate pumps and other water sources, construct wells, provide training and conduct epidemic surveillance. MSF continues to cooperate with the Rwandan ministry of health to improve epidemiological surveillance.
In May 2004, MSF intervened on a small scale to aid displaced Congolese civilians in Cyangugu province and provided care during a typhoid fever outbreak in Ruhengeri province during July and August 2004.
MSF has worked in Rwanda since 1991.