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MSF in Indonesia, 2004
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MSF is assisting patients suffering from infectious diseases, violence and natural disasters in Indonesia. Malaria is a serious illness in various parts of the country, made more serious because there is growing resistance to existing drugs used to treat patients with it. MSF is treating people with artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) and promoting its use as first-line treatment for the disease.
From July to October 2003, ACT was used in a malaria-treatment campaign that took place in South Halmahera, North Maluku. Over the course of 10 weeks, the MSF team visited 89 villages and conducted 11,125 medical consultations.
The global HIV/AIDS epidemic has also reached Indonesia, especially the province of Papua. On 15 July 2003, an agreement was signed between MSF and the Merauke district health office to provide care and treatment for HIV/AIDS patients. MSF assists both inpatients and outpatients in the district hospital. By July 2004, through the outpatient clinic, MSF was caring for 70 patients, of whom 26 were receiving antiretroviral (ARV) treatment.
In 2003, MSF started to carry out psychosocial activities in Ambon to help residents cope with violence and subsequent trauma caused by religious conflict in the region. In 2004, the team expanded its activities to include individual counseling sessions, discussion groups and training sessions. In addition, in September 2003, MSF began a short-term, community-based TB project to support and monitor all patients receiving treatment at two health centers. In April 2004, violent clashes erupted in Ambon between Muslims and Christians, and the MSF office was burned down amid the turmoil. MSF donated medicines and medical material to the city's five main hospitals and began to circulate mobile clinics to assist people unable to reach health services. MSF also undertook water and sanitation activities in the areas of most urgent need. The mental health program was adapted to the conditions, with psychologists joining the mobile clinic teams and doctors referring patients with psychosomatic symptoms to the psychologist for individual counseling. Two weeks after the clashes had begun, MSF's local TB-project supporters went back to their respective communities and tracked down the 105 patients MSF had been following. They then resumed their home visits and educational work aimed at adherence to treatment.
Assisting earthquake survivors
On 6 February 2004, a powerful earthquake shook the town of Nabire, Papua and its surrounding region. MSF quickly responded by sending a medical and logistical team, along with 600 kilos of supplies. Over five days, the medical team conducted medical consultations in four villages near Nabire.
Responding to disease outbreaks
MSF's emergency-preparedness-system project in Jayawijaya, in the province of Papua, enabled MSF to respond to 28 disease outbreaks in 2003. After evaluating and analyzing alternative ways to carry out the project, MSF decided to end it in December 2003.
In August 2004, after two years of activity, MSF closed its project aimed at improving access to basic health care services for commercial sex workers in Indonesia's capital, Jakarta. The organization will continue to pay for ARV treatment for the 40 patients whom its team had been monitoring, until another organization can be found to assume their care.
MSF has worked in Indonesia since 1997.