Liberia: MSF responds to exodus from Lofa County

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In spring 2001, fighting between government forces and armed groups in Lofa county in northern Liberia - an area caught in instability, civil war, and population movements and also subject to cross-border incursions by armed groups from Guinea and Sierra Leone - prompted the exodus of thousands of people to the central part of the country. MSF brought in 30 tons of emergency medical supplies and set up care for the displaced in several camps. Regular MSF programs in Lofa county have been suspended since mid-2000 because of insecurity. In Monrovia, the capital, MSF works at Redemption Hospital. A scarcity of health facilities makes overcrowding a real problem at the hospital and in other clinics. To address this, MSF has constructed a small clinic behind the hospital to house the outpatient department, and other clinics where MSF works are being expanded or revamped. In addition to providing basic health care, MSF runs a tuberculosis control program and supports two cholera treatment centers. In Maryland county, MSF provides surgical and medical support to the regional hospital in the town of Harper. An MSF malaria study in the area - where 40% of all consultations are for malaria - has revealed high levels of resistance to the two main malaria drugs. MSF is working to identify a more appropriate treatment for patients in Harper. MSF has expanded its medical activities to reach isolated people in the surrounding areas. In February 2001, MSF ended work in Sinje refugee camp in Cape Mount county, when the United National High Commissioner for Refugees and the Liberian government turned over responsibility for water and sanitation to a local association. MSF had been providing the services for about 10,000 Sierra Leonean refugees for about a year. MSF began working in Liberia in 1990. International staff: 13 National staff: 50