MSF warns of risk of outbreak in coming weeks
Shkopje, May 3, 1999
The international medical aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) reports that if the conditions in the Brazda camp are not improved soon, with overcrowding and poor sanitation facilities, the risk of an outbreak will increase in the coming weeks.
MSF is taking all appropriate measures to address any potential outbreak.
At present, the medical surveillance data collected by MSF in the Brazda camp is not indicative of an immediate risk of epidemics.
During the period from April 8 to April 27, there were no suspected cases of cholera or measles in the Brazda camp. There were, at the same time, two suspected cases of meningitis (one of which proved not to be meningitis and the other one a non-epidemic form of meningitis), and a total of seven cases of bloody diarrhea.
However, these figures are based on the number of consultations made in the camp, and may not reflect the situation in the total population.
MSF is running one Out-Patient Department (OPD) in the Brazda camp with an average of 300400 consultations per day. Besides various chronic diseases, the most common cases treated are watery diarrhea, upper respiratory tract infections, and mental health problems. A special infant care unit is being set up in collaboration with Mercy Corps International.
A psycho-social program was started in the OPD mid-April to address the many trauma cases presented to the OPD. The program has trained 15 local counselors who work together with two expat psychologists with an average of 50-60 consultations per day.
Since the opening of the Cegrane camp on 28 April, MSF has done over 1,500 consultations there. On 29 April there were a total of 232 consultations; 377 on 30 April and 415 on 1 May.
There have not been any diseases with epidemic potential except for one unconfirmed report of bloody diarrhea. Child population under-5 years of age are commonly suffering from watery diarrhea and upper respiratory track infections.
During the period of 29 April until 1 May there was a total of 43 cases of pneumonia. MSF is also doing medical screening upon the arrival of new refugees currently brought in from Blace.
In Blace, MSF is attending to the sanitation needs in the transit camp.
MSF is also running one OPD in the Radusa camp.
MSF works closely with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other Non-Governmental Organisations. At present the organisation has employed 45 international staff and about 100 Macedonians.