Madagascar: MSF closes project for street children

MSF believes the principal responsibility to address the large-scale crisis now lies with the Malagasy state.

Over the years, MSF's work has helped raise the profile of this population both in the political sphere and in public opinion, leading to concrete changes in the way these children are viewed and treated. MSF has also shown that it is possible to reach these desperately stigmatized youngsters with high-quality health care. In addition to its medical activities, MSF supplied social and legal support to minors participating in its program in cases of mistreatment, conflict with the law or wrongful detention.

Despite these small victories for children in need, MSF ended this program because it was no longer reaching this specific population, but instead, attracting a pauperized population too large and beyond the scope of MSF's actions.

Indeed, the increasing level of poverty - an estimated 70 percent of Antananarivo's inhabitants live below the poverty line - has made it impossible for the majority of the city's inhabitants to afford health care, and it is impossible for MSF alone to assist all of those in need because it does not have the capacity and does not see its role as replacing the public health care system.

MSF believes the principal responsibility to address the large-scale crisis now lies with the Malagasy state.

MSF will continue to work elsewhere in Madagascar. Teams that conducted an exploratory mission in the southeastern region found worrying malnutrition rates, and consequently, MSF plans to open a new project in the area in the second part of 2005.

MSF has worked in Madagascar since 1987.

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