Laos: New MSF project focuses on AIDS treatment

The plan focuses on four areas: education, agriculture, infrastructure, and health.

Right now, the principal causes of mortality in the country are malaria, respiratory infections, diarrhea, and epidemics of diseases such as dengue and measles. As in other countries in the region, HIV/AIDS is an ever-growing threat, although levels of infection are officially quite low.

In mid-2001, MSF launched an AIDS program in Savannakhet, the Laotian province with the highest declared rate of HIV infection. At the main hospital, MSF treats opportunistic infections common in those with AIDS and supplies medicines and medical material. Staff training is an important part of the program.

MSF hopes to establish an HIV/AIDS reference and resource center - the country's first - and will study the possibility of starting antiretroviral treatment for some patients. MSF has been working in Laos since 1990. Recent programs supporting district health care in several provinces have drawn to a close in the last few years, the last projects coming to end in the Bokeo province in late 2000 and Champassak province in early 2001.

International staff: 10
National staff: 42