1 November 1998
International staff: 10 National staff: 34 Response to Typhoon Linda The economic opening to the outside world that began ten years ago is beginning to bear fruit, but at the expense of the rural population as the government's capital investment programme puts peripheral health services at risk. The STD/AIDS project in Nha Trang continues successfully. The team targets prostitutes and intravenous drug users, the high-risk groups in this popular resort attracting foreigners. The MSF-run clinic, providing mainly STD/AIDS preventive and curative care, records 900 consultations monthly. The programme is expanding its prevention work towards reproductive-age females in general using an increased range of resources, including a telephone information line and school presentations. Further south, in Can Tho, MSF supports a renovated community health centre providing a range of medical services, but recently focusing on antenatal care and gynaecology. STDs are also treated and an epidemiological study is underway prior to launching a more comprehensive STD programme. MSF responded to an official appeal for help when South Vietnam was hit by Typhoon Linda in November 1997. A post-emergency programme in Ca Mau province is repairing damage to health structures in four districts and supplying them with drugs and medical material. Mosquito nets are distributed and water points chlorinated in order to prevent disease. As Ca Mau is criss-crossed by rivers, assistance for the affected communities has to be brought by boat. MSF ran a short-term relief programme in 14 health centres in Bac Lieu province until April 1998. The team gave 200 consultations daily and conducted medical, epidemiological and nutritional monitoring.