Two health care projects developed by MSF handed over to the Peruvian Ministry of Health in August. However MSF remains very active throughout Peru where 45% of the population lives in poverty.
MSF is continuing with programmes providing basic health care throughout the country, including isolated rural area, and advocacy programmes to prevent the sread of HIV/STD. In the latter half of 1999, MSF vaccinated over 500,000 people in and around Iquitos and in San Martin province against yellow fever.
For the operations being affected, two primary health care projects in the departments of Junin and Huancavelica, have been handed over to the Ministry of Health (MoH). A third, the prison project in Lima, will continue to be handled by remaining MSF teams. The prison project, which started in 2000, is a three year STD/HIV/AIDS control project in the crowded Lurigancho prison in northern Lima. Peru has been a challenging mission for MSF. The country's healthcare system collapsed totally due to the violence between the government and the guerrillas in the 1980s and early 1990s. MSF intervention in Peru started in 1990 with a response to a drought. Shortly after that, a similar project was started because of a cholera outbreak.
From 1993 onwards, the work of MSF responded to the effects of the armed conflict in Peru between government and guerrillas which caused major health problems for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). MSF focused on the primary health care, mother and child care as well as advocacy for the indigenous people.
In Peru, MSF has often been active in areas where the MoH was not present. From 1995 onwards MSF has worked together with the MoH. Slowly the health infrastructure has been rebuilt giving a lot of attention to basic health care training for local healthcare workers.
The training was done in Quechua, the indigenous language. Local pharmacies in the communities were set up, medical tools and medicines were supplied and the medical information system was strengthened. MSF remains in Peru with extensive projects to assist the basic medical needs of the population with a current focus on preventing the development and spread of STD/HIV/AIDS throiugh education. In addition there are basic health care programmes to remote communities along the Amazon River and the Andean provinces.