Congo (Brazzaville) 1998

PROGRAMME DRAWS TO A CLOSE On 15 October, after five months of fighting, General Sassou-Nguesso defeated government troops supporting President Lissouba and declared himself president. As hundreds of thousands were displaced by the fighting, MSF provided emergency assistance in the form of temporary health posts, feeding programmes and supported four health centres on the northern and southern outskirts of the capital, and another six health centres and a mobile clinic further north on the Lefini river. A team carried out measles vaccinations in Gamboma and Oyo. In Kinkole, across the border in the Democratic Republic of Congo, MSF supplied water to an estimated 25,000 Brazzaville refugees. In the capital's Makelekele hospital, MSF supplied surgical kits, re-organised the surgical department and installed a water supply system. Despite difficulties in obtaining drugs and medical material, Makelekele functioned throughout the war. Afterwards, the team introduced treatment protocols, rationalised prescriptions and set up a central pharmacy. Some support was also given during the war to Linzolo and Kinkala hospitals. Two MSF volunteers equipped with medical and logistical material provided support for Pointe Noire cholera centres during an outbreak beginning in February. MSF provided medical, nutritional and sanitation assistance to 15,500 Rwandan refugees grouped on sites in Loukelela, Ndjoundou and Liranga. As only Loukelela could be reached by plane, food, drugs, medical and logistical equipment were brought by boat from Bangui in the Central African Republic. MSF remained in Congo-Brazzaville until end-April 1998, gradually scaling down activities as large numbers of IDPs and refugees began returning home.