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MSF in Ethiopia, 2007
Field Staff: 729
Reason for intervention:
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Conflict escalated in the Somali region of Ethiopia in 2007. As the violence intensified, MSF exploratory missions in the five conflict-affected zones of Somali region revealed an alarming humanitarian crisis in which civilians were subject to violence and displacement, their livelihoods threatened and access to healthcare severely limited. However, MSF was repeatedly blocked from accessing these areas following a team evacuation resulting from a security incident in July. in September, MSF spoke out about the humanitarian situation and the government’s refusal to allow staff to return to the region. By the end of the year, MSF had still not gained adequate and independent access.
Delivering essential healthcare
Despite the disruptions, MSF’s Ethiopian staff in Cherrati continued working with the Ministry of Health to provide primary healthcare and tuberculosis (TB) care in Cherrati’s health center. Construction of a special ‘TB village’ was completed during the year, providing a number of huts where patients can stay during their eight-month treatment. As well as medical care, patients receive food from MSF, which appears to increase the likelihood of them completing treatment. A total of 430 patients were treated in the TB village.
Almost 500 people infected with kala azar were cured in Humera hospital.
When MSF was able to return to Somali region in December, teams started supporting a Ministry of Health center and mobile clinics in Fiiq zone. By the end of the year, MSF teams were seeing up to 50 patients a day, mainly for respiratory and urinary tract infections and diarrhoea. Support to a Ministry of Health centre in Wardher resumed at the end of the year. MSF also conducted an assessment in Degahbur and will start activities in 2008.
Assistance to vulnerable populations in Gambella region was not affected by the conflict in Somali region. Working in a health centre in Itang and mobile clinics in five areas, MSF staff provided integrated HIV and TB care, inpatient care and primary healthcare. Support to a health center in Abdurafi, Amhara region, continued throughout the year, focusing on treating and caring for people suffering from kala azar, otherwise known as visceral Leishmaniasis. Almost 400 people were cured. Given the high number of migrant workers in the area and an estimated HIV prevalence of between 15 and 20 per cent, MSF started providing anti-retroviral treatment in Abdurafi health center in April. During the course of the year, around 120 patients were started on treatment. MSF staff also travel by tractor to 12 sites in the region to run mobile clinics.
MSF implemented a primary healthcare project in Libo Kemkem, Amhara region, providing quality treatment to some 364 kala azar patients, treating patients with malaria and TB in health facilities and supporting a therapeutic feeding center for people suffering from malnutrition.
Throughout 2007, MSF teams have responded to emergencies in Ethiopia. In June, an emergency program was set up at resettlement sites in Awi zone and in Quara district, Amhara region, to deal with an outbreak of measles and prepare for the malaria season. Almost 6,000 children were vaccinated against measles in Awi zone and 5,000 in Quara district. MSF also provided nutritional screening and support in affected areas through mobile clinics. After the summer, MSF responded to a major cholera outbreak in Tigray and Amhara region, treating over 1,700 people. In October, teams in Gambella region distributed non-food items, such as jerry cans or cooking sets, to around 41,000 people affected by floods. In mid-November, MSF reacted to a nutritional crisis in Afar region by establishing a therapeutic feeding center and organizing mobile teams to visit the worst affected areas. During the intervention, 116 severely malnourished children received care. MSF staff continue to treat people infected with kala azar in Humera hospital and support 10 outreach sites around the region where rapid testing is undertaken. Almost 500 people infected with kala azar were cured.
Closing and handing over
In other parts of the country, MSF was able to hand over its projects to the Ministry of Health. In January, a primary healthcare project in Fogera was handed over to the national health authorities. As the national TB program was being implemented in Galaha, Afar region, MSF closed its TB project in this area in February. In May, MSF transferred the HIV/AIDS component of its program in Humera, Tigray region, to the Ministry of Health.
MSF has worked in Ethiopia since 1984.