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MSF in Rwanda, 2004
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MSF works with local groups to provide psychological help to survivors of the genocide that occurred in 1994. A team of five psychologists helps women – many of whom were raped during the genocide and have subsequently developed AIDS – to express their anxiety and anger.
Group therapy aims to help them cope with their emotions and rebuild social connections. The team supervises 14 MSFtrained trauma counselors from partner associations who manage 496 psychosocial assistants (local people trained in basic psychosocial care who work in villages around the country).
MSF developed an HIV/AIDS project encompassing both prevention and treatment in 2002. The project first served patients in the zone around the health center in Kigali's Kimironko area, and since June 2003 it has also included patients from a second health center in Kigali's Kinyinya area. MSF staff provide voluntary counseling and testing, home-based care, treat opportunistic infections and give drug therapy to prevent mother-to-child transmission. MSF introduced antiretroviral (ARV) drugs in Kimironko in October 2003 and in Kinyinya in January 2004. MSF plans for at least 500 people to be receiving ARVs by the end of 2004.
In October 2002, MSF opened a reproductive health program in Ruhengeri province, a region where inadequate services raise risks for an already vulnerable population. Working closely with the local community, this program targets obstetrical emergencies, implementation of family planning programs in health centers and maintenance of all general reproductive health services (e.g. staff training, prevention of sexually transmitted infections and improved prenatal care, delivery and postnatal care). Program components related to AIDS and sexual violence are being developed.
MSF operates a cholera-prevention program in Cyangugu province located on Lake Kivu. Activities include educating the population about hygiene and progressively rehabilitating water points (pumps and sources). MSF collaborates with Rwandan health authorities on these activities as well as on constructing wells, providing training and conducting epidemic surveillance.
MSF has worked in Rwanda since 1991.