Honduras: Emergency programme in the wake of Hurricane Mitch

Following Hurricane Mitch in November 1998, MSF launched an emergency programme for the affected population in the capital, Tegucigalpa, and the Cortes, Atlantida and Colon regions. Activities included the donation of medicine, water and sanitation activities, vector control to prevent outbreaks of malaria and dengue fever, strengthening the epidemiological early warning system, as well as the system for nutritional surveillance and an evaluation of the risk of contamination of chemicals in the southern region of Choluteca.

By the beginning of January 1999, the post-emergency phase had begun in the southern province of Choluteca where the hurricane had displaced thousands of people when the river overflowed devastating the area. Local authorities set up two sites for the displaced where MSF launched medical and sanitation assistance. MSF also supports health centres in Choluteca town and a hospital in neighbouring San Lorenzo.

MSF provides assistance in and around Bolson de Nahuaterique covering 15,000 people, including 1,500 salvadorians who remained following a negotiated settlement with Salvador which redrew the border in Honduras' favour in 1992. MSF works in eight dispensaries and supports the Marcala referral hospital.

MSF provides training for health care workers, is involved in renovation work and organises and supervises health centres and pharmacies.
A similar programme is underway in the inaccessible Cusuna area, in Northeastern Colon department, where MSF provides aid to the former slaves known as the Garifunas who have been living on this part of the coast for 200 years as well as to the ladinos who live in the interior. A total population of 10,000 benefit.

In February 1998, a regional coordination unit to prevent spread of AIDS and STDs was created in Tegucigalpa.

In May 1998, MSF initiated a HIV/AIDS programme in Tegucigalpa and La Ceiba. The programme aims to contribute to the reduction of HIV transmission amongst the marginalised populations and to improve the clinical and psychosocial attention given to patients.

In Tegucigalpa, MSF runs an urban health care project in the El Carrizal Barrio to improve access to health care for the population. Activities includes the construction of the health care centre with maternity ward, organisation and supervision of activities such as vaccinations, mother and child health care, health education mainly on AIDS, the construction of a pharmacy and training for health workers.