Brazil: Help for urban victims of poverty and violence

National staff : 22

International staff : 17

Over the past four years MSF has set up a co-operative health post in the Vigario Geral favela (slum). The final phase of this programme is now under way. MSF is preparing the staff and the community to take over this project. As a result of the health interventions of MSF, the team in Rio have also developed a dental health game for children.

To counter problems of urban violence and social exclusion and with the aim to improve health, MSF continues to act as an interlocutor between the public health authorities and socially excluded populations.

MSF has recently opened two new urban health programmes, one in the Costa Barros favela, where MSF run a public health centre for a population of 40,000 inhabitants, in conjunction with the health ministry.

The second in the neighbouring Portus favela, where MSF is running an alternative integrated family health programme,as a pilot study with the Health Ministry, to try and introduce alternative, more complete health care strategies for the poor in Rio. MSF also runs a social integration programme in these areas.

A STDs/AIDS prevention project has brought MSF into partnership with public authorities and local community groups in 22 favelas. Here MSF runs condom banks, information seminars, activities to increase awareness and a referral service. A common activity in all these projects is management training for community leaders.

MSF also runs a network of health professionals who give free consultations for public patients.

In collaboration with the Brazilian government and several local organisations which aim to protect the interests of the Indian population, MSF has been working for some years to improve health facilities in a number of remote areas in Brazil.

Owing to changes in their living environment, some brought about by the incursions of gold miners, the Indian population in the Javari, Yanomami and Tefe regions have come into contact with all kinds of diseases, such as malaria. MSF is training health workers and microscopists. At the end of 1998, a project was started in Tefe on the banks of the Meio Solimoes river, with the objective of setting up a system of medical facilities in collaboration with the population, as has been done in other areas.