Vietnam: Permanent MSF presence comes to an end

  • International staff : 8
  • National staff : 30 The Vietnamese government is reducing its investment in public health services and encouraging the private sector to get involved in providing health care. As a result, poor rural people and ethnic minorities have little access to quality care, even though the country has experienced an overall improvement in living standards over the past ten years. Despite the great need to fill this "health care gap," MSF felt that conditions were not right for it to continue to bring added value through its work in the country. As a consequence, the organization closed its mission in September 2000, after ten years of work. MSF completed a dengue prevention project in the southern province of Ca Mau, and an assistance program for typhoon victims in the central province of Quang Nam. Then, in November 1999, a storm caused severe flooding that killed livestock, left many thousands of people homeless and destroyed much of the local health infrastructure. In response, MSF delivered medical kits to hundreds of clinics in 14 districts and repaired damaged health centers. MSF's long-term work in Vietnam targeted vulnerable and excluded people, including AIDS sufferers, drug users, women and adolescents who were victims of sexual exploitation, migrants and ethnic minorities. An STD/AIDS control project in the southeastern city of Nha Trang recently drew to a close. The MSF clinic in the city center had provided more than 45,000 consultations over five years. Another project in Can Tho province ended in March 2000. Based in a hospital and three health centers, MSF sought to improve health care for women, and also focused on STD cases and AIDS prevention. In a country that takes a very repressive stance towards AIDS, MSF used information campaigns to try and break down taboos associated with the disease.