Cuba

International staff : 5

In 1997, MSF helped the Ministry of Health set up a national information and co-ordination centre for the prevention of HIV infection and other sexual transmittable diseases.

From the centre in Havana, MSF has organised information campaigns, trained people in the provision of information and worked on encouraging social acceptance of the use of condoms and on co-ordination between AIDS prevention programmes and programmes focusing on the control of other sexually transmittable diseases (STDs).

Attention has also been given to better medical treatment of HIV/AIDS infected people. By June, the centre was functioning independently but MSF continues to collaborate with its staff on an outreach programme for high risk groups in Havana and supports nation-wide self-help groups of people living with HIV.

In Santiago de Cuba, An AIDS/STD prevention programme targets mainly the adolescent and youth population, as well as prostitutes and vulnerable groups within the tourism industry. Working with a multi-disciplinary team of Cuban professionals, MSF analyses the populations' understanding of AIDS/STDs and focuses on changing attitudes in the community.

Activities also include training community health care workers, running awareness campaigns and ensuring access to condoms. An information and counselling centre was established in the centre of Santiago. Preparations are underway to extend/replicate this programme throughout the remaining eastern provinces.

MSF also runs a project for water and sanitation in the José Martí district in order to improve conditions for drinking water distribution and waste disposal and to reduce water-borne disease.

Vector control following a mosquito plague which broke out in July 1997 ended in August 1998. MSF's main objective was to avoid the transmission of dengue and haemorhaggic fever.

Teams fumigated buildings, distributed information on prevention methods and carried out epidemiological surveillance. MSF also carried out a water project in the community of Rio Cauto in Granma, and another involving the production of domestic water-filters in Baracoa in Guantanamo.

Following the destruction Hurricane Georges left in its wake in September 1998 in the eastern provinces, a programme was launched to prevent epidemics transmitted by water, as well as the prevention of dengue and haemorhaggic fever.