1 November 1998
BETTER HEALTH COVERAGE REQUIRED The former dictator, Hugo Banzer, returned to power in August 1997. The decentralisation of healthcare continues. Rural areas have suffered most owing to the lack of trained health care workers. Since 1987, MSF has been carrying out projects in Bolivia that aim to improve access to health care for the indigenous populations. At present, MSF is running two long-term projects. In Illampu, the Aymara Indians are targeted via support to three hospitals, six health centres and 17 dispensaries. In Mizque, assistance is provided to the Quechua Indians via a hospital, four health centres and several dispensaries. Activities in both projects include mother-and-child health, training for traditional midwives and community health workers, the renovation and equipment of health facilities, drugs supplies and logistical assistance to the national vaccination programme. In total, over 180.000 people are assisted by these two projects. In May 1998, MSF began a three-month emergency intervention in Beni and Pando, two departments in the north of the country following severe flooding that affected some 6,000 families. The main activity was the distribution of drugs and non-food items.