MSF vaccination plan starts on Tuesday

From the Dili base, MSF is preparing for a measles vaccination campaign which is scheduled to start on Tuesday October 19, 1999. The vaccinations will be provided from five different locations thoughout the area.

The cornerstone of activity in Dili remains within the Stadium operation, where repatriated East Timorese are being brought for health screenings and there are over 700 people, currently living as, for most, their homes were destroyed during the post-election violence. In and around the stadium, MSF is installing 36 latrines to meet the requirements of the permanent and transitory populations.

Two waste pits, with regular burnings, have been constructed. Water bladders, to ensure access to clean water, have been installed. With the road from Liquisa to Dili being given the 'green light' from the Interfet forces, MSF mobile clinics, based in Dili, visited Liuisa on October 11. Staff performed 84 consultations. Reports are that the population there is slowly increasing. On October 13, 1999, an exploratory team travelled to Maliana, approximately 80kms southwest of Dili.

The team is distributing blankets, plastic sheeting for accommodation repairs, cooking sets, mosquito nets and collapsible jerry cans to the local population. Baucau operations have settled in the civilian hospital, which MSF took over for coordination mid-morning on October 8. By the following day, a surgical team was fully operational and on stand-by 24 hours a day. Out Patient Department (OPD) activity has continued in the hospital as well. When the hospital was taken over, there were no in-patients at the facility. MSF now has nine patients staying at the hospital. The surgery has also been in use. By October 13, there had been 14 patients, all with minor surgery needs.

There are two mobile clinics have been active in the districts conducting assessments local health needs. All of the satellite health centres in the Baucau district have been assessed as well as some in the neighbouring districts. There is no evidence of malnutrition. Most of the instances for medical care have been for respiratory tract infection (RTI), TB, malaria and skin diseases.

The visits have indicated a definite need for constant MSF activity and a timetable has been drawn up to ensure weekly visits to areas on fixed dates so distant populations will receive regular treatment and supplies can be delivered. There is a repatriation process underway that brings returnees to Baucau. On Thursday, October 14, both mobile teams were at the Baucau airport to screen returning refugees. In total, 300 people arrived, generally in good condition. Once again, consultations were for RTI, TB, skin diseases and malaria. There were no instances of malnutrition.


In West Timor, the MSF team in Atambua has started activities. Water is being trucked in for the hospital. The hospital bore hole is being cleared and disinfected and a new pump installed. Water trucking is also being done in and around the stadium.