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MSF in Honduras, 2006/2007
Field Staff: 37
Reason for Intervention:
All articles on Honduras »
Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, is home to approximately one million people. In this urban setting, street youth are among those who suffer the most from repeated exposure to violence. MSF estimates there are minimum 400 children and adolescents living in very precarious circumstances, attempting to survive in the streets. The most common reason these youths flee their homes is to escape the consequences of family break-ups or violence. Drug addiction – most commonly to glue – increases the youths’ marginalization and sense of rejection.
Daily life for these young people is characterized by a struggle to survive. The repeated violence they experience is both physical and psychological, inflicted by a large range of perpetrators, including their peers, institutions, shopkeepers, the militia and the police.
MSF opened a therapeutic day center to provide care for these street youth in 2005 in Comayaguela, a market area with some of the highest crime rates among districts most affected by urban violence. Services include medical care, mental healthcare and social and educational activities, the aims of which are to introduce an element of normality into daily lives affected by ongoing stress and addiction.
A special emphasis is put on sexual and reproductive healthcare, as these youth are exposed to the risks of multiple pregnancies, the consequences of commercial sex exploitation, sexual violence and sexually transmitted infections.
The center provides a series of multi-disciplinary services that are backed up with street work, aiming to bring youths to the center and/or other structures. In 2006, over 800 mental health and 1,200 medical consultations were conducted through this program.
MSF has worked in Honduras since 1998.