Brazil: Helping Rio's down and out

From 1998 to late 2001, MSF ran a combined medical and social program in the impoverished and violence-prone Costa Barros favela in northern Rio. The clinic and related family health program focused on improving health care for mothers and children, and preventing and treating communicable diseases. It was turned over to a local NGO in October 2001. MSF is continuing its combined medical and social program aimed at improving the health of some of the thousands of people living on the streets in downtown Rio de Janeiro. An accompanying information campaign is aimed at sensitizing the broader public to the plight of the homeless. After over a decade bringing health assistance to indigenous people in Brazil's Amazon region, MSF handed over its equipment and educational materials to local actors in February 2002. Brazil supplies antiretroviral (ARV) treatment free of charge to all Brazilians with AIDS, thanks to generic drugs produced by the federal public pharmaceutical laboratory Far-Manguinhos. MSF has signed a collaborative agreement with the health authorities that includes the use of Brazilian drugs in some of MSF's ARV projects; and began using them in South Africa in January 2002 (see page 46). MSF has been working in Brazil since 1991. International staff: 2 National staff: 21