Project Handovers - 2006

Brazil: Fully functioning health centre handed over to local groups

The consequences of Brazilian inequality are dramatically clear in the populous slums of Rio de Janeiro, which has over 500 such communities. MSF started working here in 1997, and began a project in 2003 in Marcilio Dias, a slum where residents experience some of the highest levels of social exclusion and violence, resulting in a diminished access to healthcare.

MSF established the Marcilio Dias Health Centre, providing integrated primary healthcare, psychosocial services, and linkages for community support around issues such as domestic violence, teenage pregnancy and drug abuse. MSF has now handed over a functional and fully equipped health unit to local authorities and MOGEC, a nongovernmental community organisation created under the auspices of MSF in 1997. Over 43,000 consultations were provided during the 32-month duration of the project, and the centre provided access to healthcare for 14,776 people in 2005.

MSF worked in Brazil from 1991 to 2005.

Sweden: Swedish Red Cross takes on programme for undocumented migrants

Sweden is one of the few countries in the EU to charge full costs for emergency healthcare for undocumented migrants, the vast majority of whom cannot afford these costs. In 2004, MSF started a programme in Stockholm to provide medical assistance to this population.

A survey of 102 patients receiving care through MSF's network between July and September 2005 showed that the majority of patients were excluded from non-emergency and routine healthcare, including severe chronic diseases such as diabetes and asthma, as well as pregnancy. MSF launched public communications to draw attention to the issue and advocated for a change in the legal framework to provide better access to this vulnerable population.

The campaign clearly contributed both to an increased general awareness around the issue and a recent change in the political climate. Previously a sensitive political issue rarely spoken about, now four out of six political parties stand behind changing the legislation concerning healthcare for asylum seekers and other groups. In March 2006, the Swedish Red Cross committed to continue the medical programme for one year, whilst the government reviews legislation.

MSF worked in Sweden from 2004 to 2005.

Ukraine: Ministry of Health and NGOs continue care for patients with HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS knowledge is poor and stigma is high in Ukraine. MSF began to address HIV/AIDS here in 1999, launching a national education campaign in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and national NGOS; and setting up a continuum of care model that focused on ongoing care from awareness raising and pre HIV-test counselling, to psychosocial support designed to help patients cope with their illness and adhere to treatment.

Programmes were established in Odessa, Mykolayiv and Simferopol. Increased international financial commitment to HIV/ AIDS in Ukraine allowed MSF to withdraw from the project, as ongoing care for patients is now ensured for the near future. The programme handover was marked by a press conference and the opening of a photo exhibition in Kiev in late 2005. The exhibit showed the lives of people living with HIV, testimony to the fact that people can cope with its effects, given affordable medical care and psychosocial support.

MSF worked in Ukraine from 1999 to 2005.