1 November 1998
Staffing: 15 Assistance to Rome`s gypsies There are an estimated 5,000 Gypsies living in camps around Rome, many of whom are refugees. Their long-term presence is linked to recent events in the countries of Eastern Europe. MSF works with around 1,500 Gypsies living in one of many unauthorised camps that have grown up around Rome. Prior to MSF's intervention in November 1996, the camp, known as Casilino 700, had no water or sanitation and no health care. Now, the municipal authorities in Rome have been persuaded to provide four tanks containing a total of 24,000 litres of water and to place rubbish containers from which collections are made at regular intervals. MSF has itself set up 70 latrines and offers free medical consultations. These are given in a mobile home moving between the different groups that have established themselves in the camp according to their country of origin. The local health authorities now come to give vaccinations, but mothers have to take their children to the official centre for the second shot. The MSF team makes sure that they understand the importance of vaccinations and organises their transport to the centre. Transport is also organised to another centre giving antenatal consultations. In spring 1998, MSF started a training course for community health workers in order to involve the community more fully in promoting health education.