Indonesia: Go-ahead for first comprehensive AIDS program

While repatriation of war-displaced East Timorese seems to be increasing, tens of thousands remain in West Timor. Over half of the 60,000 present in July 2001 in seven camps in Kefa and Kupang assisted by MSF remained in July 2002. In April 2002, MSF set up a program in camps in Belu district mainly focusing on vaccination. MSF began work in West Kalimantan in 1999 after horrific ethnic violence forced thousands of Madurese transmigrants into makeshift urban camps in Pontianak and Singkawang. When the last camp in Pontianak closed in August 2002, MSF decided to end the project. MSF continues to provide medical, water and sanitation aid in 15 locations to internally displaced persons (IDPs) and local people affected by civil strife in Ambon and the outlying Maluku (Moluccas) islands. Two boats are used as mobile clinics to reach the islands, mainly Seram and Buru. An emergency preparedness plan was set up in order to react to any eventuality. Support to IDPs and local civilians in North Maluku and in IDP camps in Sulawesi ended in August 2001 as the situation had stabilized. In January 2001, MSF started a new medical program for sex workers and other vulnerable groups excluded from health care in Jakarta. Mobile clinics in two prostitution zones treat sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and provide general health care. MSF is reinforcing local capacity to monitor and respond to epidemics and other emergencies in Jayawijaya, West Papua (Irian Jaya). Merauke in this province is to be site of the country's first comprehensive AIDS program, given official approval in May 2002. Indonesia remains volatile and numerous population groups are vulnerable. MSF continues epidemiological surveillance for early detection of disease outbreaks and remains ready to bring aid to civilians affected by future violence. MSF has worked in Indonesia since 1997. International staff: 30 National staff: 254