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MSF in Honduras , 2009
Field Staff: 41
Reason for Intervention:
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Homeless young people living on the streets in the capital Tegucigalpa are very vulnerable. Their living conditions are dangerous and they are often the targets of violence. They have little or no access to healthcare. Last year more than 500 homeless people under the age of 24 were murdered.
MSF runs a therapeutic day-care center in Comayaguela that provides medical, psychological and social support in one of the poorest areas in the city. In 2009, the center saw on average 220 young people on a regular basis and the MSF team recorded over 8,000 therapeutic visits, including over 2,000 medical interventions. Many suffered from respiratory infections, skin conditions, dental problems, injuries resulting from violence, and HIV/AIDS.
Some patients show symptoms too severe to be treated in the day-care center. In 2009 MSF referred to national hospitals 37 people suffering with depression, psychotic episodes, severe drug or alcohol withdrawal symptoms, or who had attempted suicide.
In 2009 MSF implemented a new model of care for those with drug or alcohol addiction. The service helps people to confront their addiction, which is often the first step to recovery.
Maria was seven when she was raped. At the age of eight, she ran away from home. Since then, she has been in juvenile detention centers 18 times, has worked as a prostitute and was addicted to drugs and alcohol. However, she has never missed a session in the day-care center and has stopped taking drugs and alcohol. ‘When you stop the drugs, you start having responsibilities. It becomes not enough to sit and feel sorry for yourself.’ With the support of the MSF psychologist, she is now more stable.
Fisherman in Batangafo
‘I was feeling very tired and sleepy so I went to the hospital. They told me I was suffering from sleeping sickness. I had to stop working for six months and my sisters took care of my family. Now I am cured but I have to go for check-ups every six months. I feel better but I am scared of falling sick again as I don’t have any other income and I need to continue working to sustain my family.’
MSF has worked in Honduras since 1988.