Benin: AIDS work begins in crossroads city

In response to the growing problem of HIV/AIDS, a disease that is highly stigmatized in Benin and ignored by government and health officials, MSF launched a new HIV/AIDS program mid-2002. The new HIV/AIDS program began in mid-2002 in Dogbo, a crossroads city in southwest Benin. Activities include hospital care, treatment of opportunistic infections, voluntary testing and counseling, and prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. MSF continues to support the Buruli ulcer treatment center in Mono, working closely with local health professionals to diagnose and treat the disease. Surgical intervention remains the only form of treatment, and disabilities are often the result of late detection. MSF strives to raise awareness about Buruli ulcer through a variety of means, including educational radio campaigns. In 2001, more than 126 new cases were detected and 416 surgeries were performed, including 130 skin transplants. In late 2001, an MSF team assisted in Parakou, where contamination in a local pond used for drawing water caused a cholera outbreak. MSF has been in Benin since 1997. International staff: 3 National staff: 15