Gunshot wounds and bomb blasts are not the only life-threatening consequences of war in Afghanistan's Helmand Province. Diseases and conditions such as diarrhea and respiratory tract infections can go untreated and become deadly. In MSF's new outpatient department in Boost Hospital, staff are able to focus on these cases and the challenges they bring.
In the former Soviet bloc country of Kyrgyzstan, MSF has been supporting TB care for prisoners since 2005. The aim is to reduce transmission of TB and treat those who have it. But working within the penitentiary system, which has proven to be a fertile breeding ground for the disease, presents some major challenges.
Cambodia has one of the highest tuberculosis burdens in the world, according to the WHO. TB and its drug-resistant forms can be extremely difficult to diagnose and treat, especially in resource-poor countries, where the disease takes advantage of immune systems weaken by malnutrition and HIV, and people have limited access to health care. MSF has been working to improve TB diagnosis, treatment, and training in the southeastern city of Kampong Cham.
The most widely used method to test patients for TB fails to identify the disease in about half of the cases. But a long-awaited new test is raising hopes that we will be able to identify TB more effectively, get patients on treatment faster, and help reign in this deadly epidemic.
Generic versions of antiretrovirals, or ARVs, that cost a fraction of the price of brand medicines make it possible for MSF to treat 160,000 people living with HIV around the world. Eighty percent of the ARVs we use come from India, and millions of others in developing countries depend on India-made generics as well. But the European Commission has begun directing its trade policies in a way that could stamp out the production of lifesaving generics in India. MSF has launched a global public campaign to tell Europe to back off, and to honor its commitments to global health.
The Kashmir Valley has been in the midst of increasing civil unrest since June. Violent, deadly clashes between protestors and security forces have led to strict 24-hour curfews and an even more pronounced military presence on the streets, the combination of which has kept people from accessing much-needed mental health care. MSF has been providing psychological care in Kashmir since 2002 and since June the team has had to adjust its strategy to in order to reach those who need help the most.
The neglected and deadly disease kala azar - also called visceral leishmaniasis - is currently being reported in 45 districts of Bangladesh. MSF is working in Mymensingh district, which has the majority of the country's cases.
More than a year after the end of the war in Sri Lanka, people who suffered spinal injuries as a result of the conflict are struggling to start life again. We meet some of the patients at MSF's rehabilitation unit in Pampaimadhu Hospital near Vavuniya.
In June violent clashes between Uzbek and Kyrgyz communities in southern Kyrgyzstan left hundreds dead and thousands wounded. Though the violence is now reduced, the fears are not. MSF has implemented a three-point strategy for treating victims of the violence and preparing for another potential surge.