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MSF in Zambia, 2007
Field Staff: 157
Reason for Intervention:
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In July 2005, the Zambian government started providing HIV/AIDS care free of charge and in 2006 abolished the national cost-sharing system of healthcare. Although the number of medical consultations rapidly increased, no viable substitute system of healthcare was implemented. The drug supply was not adjusted, resulting in occasional stock ruptures and patients sometimes being asked to pay for drugs, placing an extra burden on those with chronic and debilitating illnesses such as HIV/AIDS.
MSF has focused on helping people with HIV through a project in the remote ‘transit area’ of Kapiri M’Poshi, a fast-growing town and the site of main railway transfers. The national figures estimate that 20 per cent of people in Kapiri M’Poshi have HIV. Access to healthcare in general and HIV care in particular is limited for the 250,000 people living in the rural Kapiri district, where there are few roads or means of transportation.
MSF worked at integrating care into regular health services and provided ART to 700 patients.
The hospital in Kapiri was recently upgraded to a district hospital but still lacks essential health facilities such as x-ray and surgery. MSF runs a clinic in the hospital and works in 12 rural health centers, implementing a decentralized model of HIV care so people can access medical services closer to home. By the end of 2007, MSF had enrolled 7,000 patients in the project, with 3,500 receiving anti-retroviral treatment (ART). Teams conducted over 3,000 consultations a month.
In 2001, MSF established an HIV/AIDS project in the rural district of Nchelenge, another transit area in northern Zambia. MSF worked at integrating care into regular health services and provided ART to 700 patients. A total of 4,195 HIV patients are followed up in the project. Patients are also screened for tuberculosis (TB) and MSF worked with health authorities to ensure that treatment for people co-infected with HIV and TB was integrated into primary care. MSF also involved the community in prevention, treatment and support of people with HIV/AIDS. This project was transferred to the Ministry of Health at the end of 2007.
MSF has worked in Zambia since 1999.