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MSF in Liberia, 2009
Field Staff: 694
Reason for Intervention:
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Though Liberia has made significant moves towards stability and reconstruction following its 14-year civil war, many people still live in poverty and the poorly resourced health sector struggles to provide adequate healthcare. Women and children are particularly at risk.
Maternal and pediatric healthcare
In 2009, MSF provided free healthcare in two hospitals and two health centers in Montserrado County in the northwest, which is home to more than 30 per cent of the country’s population.
In a suburb of Paynesville, MSF worked in a 106-bed women and children’s hospital offering neonatal intensive care and maternal emergency services for women, including surgery. Throughout the year, teams assisted nearly 7,000 patients, including more than 1,100 deliveries and 2,600 emergency surgeries.
MSF also provided free access to healthcare in a 187-bed private pediatric hospital in Bushrod Island, an overcrowded area of Monrovia that is home to more than 500,000 people. More than 12,400 children were admitted in 2009. Teams focused primarily on maternal health, malnourished children with medical complications and integrating the treatment of chronic diseases such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.
MSF also supported two health centers in collaboration with the Ministry of Health in Clara Town and New Kru Town, close to the capital. Teams provided a range of services such as antenatal and postnatal care, vaccinations and the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Together, the centers carried out more than 112,000 consultations, and delivered 2,200 babies.
In 2007, MSF started a gradual handover of projects to the Ministry of Health and other partners. Activities in Nimba County, northeastern Liberia were handed over in April, followed by activities in Clara Town health center in August 2009. MSF also scaled down activities in two hospitals in Monrovia.
Before the handover of Saclepea in Nimba County, MSF successfully finalized a research project in collaboration with other partners for testing an anti-malarial drug known as artemisinin-based combination therapy.
MSF offered emergency medical and psychological support to victims of sexual violence at Island hospital in Monrovia and at two health centers, treating an average of 70 patients a month in 2009. More than three-quarters were younger than 18 years old.
In the last months of 2009, MSF ran an awareness campaign in Monrovia, using radio advertisements, interviews, posters, banners, text messages and drama groups to urge more victims to seek vital medical and psychological treatment, particularly in the first three days after an attack.
Free medical care for all
MSF continued to lobby for free care throughout Liberia. Though the government introduced a free treatment policy in 2006, considerable political will and resources are still needed to ensure these promises become a reality.
MSF has worked in Liberia since 1990.