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MSF in Liberia, 2006
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In July 2006, electricity was partially restored to Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, following a fourteen-year blackout. Standpipe water also became available in parts of the city for the first time in years. Rehabilitation efforts are starting to bear fruit in this country, now rebuilding after a 14-year civil war, but Liberia still lacks operational health facilities and personnel. In 2005, about 90 per cent of all healthcare services were provided by faith based-organizations or international NGOs such as MSF.
In 2005/2006 many Liberians who fled the fighting during the war returned home from temporary camps and MSF began closing camp-based health and sanitation programs and established new ones in the capital and around the country.
Providing healthcare in the capital
MSF has provided full support to hospitals in Monrovia since 1999. MSF runs a 150-bed hospital in the Mamba Point area and provides specialist paediatric and obstetrics inpatient services at Island and Benson hospitals. After six years of supporting Redemption Hospital, MSF handed over its management to Liberian health authorities in November 2005. MSF also supports two primary care clinics in Monrovia, providing over 10,000 consultations monthly.
Cholera thrives in the crowded conditions of Monrovia, with disease outbreaks occurring regularly. In August 2005, at the height of an outbreak, MSF teams intervened and treated 350 suspected cholera patients per week. Later in the year, the MSF-supported cholera treatment unit was handed back to Liberian health authorities.
With the security environment stabilising, MSF is developing health programs focusing on tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and reproductive health. A paediatric tuberculosis program at Island Hospital encourages caregivers to help children to take their drugs correctly. A specialist mother and child healthcare center was opened in early 2005 to improve reproductive health, conducting approximately 1500 ante-natal and 1300 family planning consultations monthly in 2005/2006.
Helping survivors of sexual violence
Since 2003, MSF has provided medical treatment and psychological support to survivors of sexual violence. MSF staff also conduct outreach activities and information sessions in markets, schools, churches, mosques and clinics to raise awareness about sexual violence and to encourage survivors to seek care. In 2005, over 1400 persons were seen through MSF-supported structures. Half of them were under the age of 18.
Medical care around the country
In Saclepea, Nimba county, MSF runs a health clinic next to a camp housing about 1000 Ivorian refugees. In 2005/2006, approximately 3000 outpatient medical consultations were conducted here monthly. A new women's health unit was also created, offering family planning services and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.
MSF also runs several health clinics and provides care to survivors of sexual violence in Grand Bassa and River Cess counties, and runs a hospital providing free care. A community-based program in Grand Bassa treated 271 malnourished children from January to July 2006.
MSF has worked in Liberia since 1990.