Benin: New wing for Buruli Ulcer treatment center

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The first phase of the MSF program, begun in 1997, emphasized treating the disease itself and training health professionals in curative and diagnostic techniques. Surgical training was a key part of the program. MSF also helped build the country's second treatment center for Buruli Ulcer, in the department of Mono, home to about 840,000 people. Overcrowding at the center (sometimes swelling to 200% of capacity) prompted the construction of a new wing, set to be completed in early 2002. At the same time, MSF is putting increasing emphasis on educating the population about the disease and encouraging people to come in early for treatment. MSF continues to work with the Institute for Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium, on research to discover the exact cause of the disease. In fall 2001, MSF expects to begin an AIDS program in the city of Dogbo. Activities will include hospital care, treatment of opportunistic infections for AIDS patients, testing and counseling, and public education. In addition, MSF will offer antiretroviral treatment to help prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. International staff: 2 National staff: 13