Manila: Health care for street children

National staff : 42 International staff : 6

A mobile medical team works five days a week, providing health care assistance to children from six to 15 years of age. MSF teams also work out of four city clinics where free consultations, medicines and vaccinations are provided. Those who need more medical attention are referred to the city hospitals. Interactive education sessions on themes such as emergency care, STDs, AIDS, drugs, hygiene and nutrition are organised by the team. The team also makes regular medical visits to detention centres and temporary regroupment centres.

Two teams of outreach social workers spend four days a week working with the children and referring those who need assistance to the appropriate centre. MSF also follows up on the welfare of children who have been reunited with their families. MSF provides many different kinds of legal assistance to street children including those detained in adult jails. Advocacy on the behalf of streetchildren is a priority.

MSF also runs a project in one of Manila's many slums. Paradise Village is inhabited by 15,000 people living on six hectares of marshland. In collaboration with a local agency, LinGap, MSF cleans the sewage pipes and insulates them. MSF has been involved in the construction of a bridge on the canal which is located alongside the slum. It has built access roads and is providing health education to the community.

Although MSF closed most of its large-scale health-care programme in the southwestern archipelago of Sulu in July 1998, its health care service continues to be monitored by MSF. Medicine and medical material are supplied to health structures.

The STDS-HIV control project in the southern city of Davao is currently being re-evaluated.

Philippines is often affected by natural disasters and the past year has been no exception.

At the beginning of November 1998, MSF intervened in the provinces of Catanduanes and Camarines Sur following Typhoon Loleng. MSF organised emergency medical distributions and contributed to the rehabilitation of health centres. At the beginning of March 1999, MSF carried out emergency assistance following flooding in the southern Caraga region.

In February 1999, 75,000 people were displaced following clashes between the army and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Maguindanao and Cobatabo. MSF provided emergency kits to 30,000 displaced.