International staff: 8
National staff: 6
Since 1996, MSF has supported primary health care services in the Toujounine district of the capital, Nouakchott. However, after realizing that there was little chance of influencing the overall quality of care given at the health centers, MSF began to change the focus of its work in the city.
The organization constructed a clinic, which now belongs to the regional health directorate. The health center - which has examination rooms, a delivery room, and a pharmacy - will offer primary care, family planning, gynecological services, and curative and preventive care. As of August 2000, the clinic had not yet opened because the water and electricity connection had not yet been secured by the regional health authorities.
In the meantime, MSF carried out an extensive assessment to better understand the needs of the area's residents, and their expectations for the health center. The clinic will be managed partly by the community, along with the Ministry of Health.
Throughout 1999, MSF also worked to assess the nutritional status of children under five and improve the vaccination rate in the isolated central Mauritanian region of Tagant. The largely nomadic population in the area has little access to health care and is subject to periodic famines. MSF vaccinated 80% of the area's very young children (under one year old) against childhood diseases and vaccinated pregnant women against tetanus.
The organization also worked to improve the cold chain (the method used to keep vaccines at the appropriate temperature from source to vaccination point). In addition, in the hospital of Tidjikdja MSF helped put in place procedures and training to reduce infant mortality due to malnutrition. At the end of 1999, MSF completed this nutritional-vaccination project in the region.