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MSF in Angola, 2004
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Although Angola's long civil war has ended, the country's civilians still lack the care they need in many places. In some areas, MSF is the sole health care provider, with programs that assist those affected by a number of infectious diseases. MSF malaria projects have demonstrated the success of artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), contributing to the government's decision to change the national treatment protocol to ACT by the first part of 2005. MSF is treating people with malaria at facilities in Caala. In February 2004, MSF responded to an outbreak of malaria in Matala, in Huila province, by treating more than 16,000 people. From January to May 2004, an MSF team ran a malaria-treatment center in Kuito, the capital of Bié province, which treated 4,594 children under the age of 13.
As part of its work to improve the detection and treatment of sleeping sickness in Caxito, in Bengo province, MSF treated 817 patients and screened more than 45,000 people for this often deadly disease. In April 2004, MSF also began treating patients with sleeping sickness in Camabatela, in Kuanza Norte province. MSF carries out this work in collaboration with the Angolan Ministry of Health and other organizations.
In many parts of Angola, MSF teams treat patients with tuberculosis (TB) and strive to improve both diagnosis and treatment. In Bié province, MSF manages a TB center in collaboration with the Angolan Health Ministry, providing drugs and supplies, managing the laboratory and pharmacy and training staff. MSF is treating more than 600 patients in the province. In Huambo province, an MSF-built TB center in Caala was handed over to local authorities in August 2004.
MSF also provides care to many people living with HIV/AIDS. Since July 2003, the organization has provided HIV/AIDS training and education at three health care facilities and at a voluntary testing and counseling center in the town of Malanje. The project targets low-income women, returned refugees and sex workers. Activities include treatment for opportunistic infections and voluntary counseling and testing. Plans are under way to begin providing treatment with life-extending antiretroviral medications.
MSF also works with other vulnerable populations in Angola, including those living in camps for internally displaced persons and returning refugees. In April 2004, MSF spoke out about the treatment of illegal diamond miners expelled from Lunda Norte province. Some miners were held in areas without food, water or sanitation facilities for weeks, while others were forced to walk 65 kilometers to the border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo without basic supplies. In late 2003, MSF handed over activities at the provincial hospital in Kuito to local health authorities. In Saurimo, Lunda Sul province, MSF staff ended a project in November 2003 that had targeted displaced people. MSF completed basic health care projects in Bailundo, Huambo province, in December 2003 and in Luena, Moxico province, in March 2004.
MSF has worked in Angola since 1983.