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More than 7,000 islands make up the Philippines, but the bulk of its fast-growing population – now more than 100 million people – lives on just 11 of them.
After recovering from an economic downturn in 2004, the Philippines now ranks as one of the most promising newly-industrialised countries, with its export economy moving away from agriculture to electronics, petroleum and other goods.
Although endowed with many fine beaches and a growing tourism industry, much of the country is mountainous and prone to natural disasters. It is often lashed by typhoons and other storms.
MSF's work in the Philippines in 2017
Since 2016, MSF has partnered with a local organisation, Likhaan, to offer sexual and reproductive health services in two densely populated and impoverished Manila districts, Tondo and San Andres.
In 2017, MSF and Likhaan moved to a larger clinic in Tondo and carried out an average of 1,380 consultations a month between the two clinics. The clinic offers family planning services and care for victims of sexual violence, as well as screening and treatment for cervical cancer. MSF, in conjunction with Likhaan and Manila City Health, also vaccinated more than 23,000 girls against the human papillomavirus, responsible for cervical cancer.
From June 2017, MSF offered psychological first aid and ran water, sanitation and hygiene activities for people displaced by the conflict between the Philippine armed forces and two pro-Islamic State factions, the Maute group and Abu Sayyaf, in Marawi city, Mindanao region. More than 370,000 people were displaced from Marawi and its surroundings.
MSF provided psychological first aid to more than 11,500 people, and distributed 1,500 hygiene kits and 1,150 jerry cans. When the siege of Marawi was declared over in late October, MSF remained in the area to support internally displaced people and returnees.