Benin: Shifting care to HIV-positive patients

The project offers voluntary counseling and testing, medical consultations for related infections such as tuberculosis and pneumonia and, since the second half of 2004, treatment with life-extending antiretroviral (ARV) medicines. MSF's program is currently the only one in Benin to offer this comprehensive array of care and treatment components. By the middle of 2005, 200 patients were receiving ARVs, and MSF plans to double this number by the end of the year.

The Buruli ulcer project was handed over to local authorities on the last day of 2004. Since 1997, MSF had focused on assisting people with the debilitating condition. Related to tuberculosis and leprosy, Buruli ulcer destroys skin and bone tissue.

To date, there is no medicinal treatment for the disease, and surgery is the only way to relieve its effects. In the town of Lalo in Mono-Couffo department, MSF ran a treatment center that provided surgery and other care for approximately 100 patients each year.

To support the transition to local operation of the project, MSF provided financial assistance, medicines and other needed medical materials for the first half of 2005.

MSF has worked in Benin since 1997.