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MSF in Bangladesh, 2005
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MSF offers medical care in three parts of the southern Chittagong Hill Tracts region of Bangladesh where health care is almost nonexistent. The region's indigenous inhabitants have faced discrimination and marginalization for years due to conflict and forced displacement. Today MSF is one of the few nongovernmental organizations offering help in this part of the country near the border with Myanmar and India.
People living in the region face high rates of illness and death caused by malaria. MSF's research on malaria-treatment regimes — which demonstrated parasite resistance to the traditional chloroquinebased therapy — has led to changes in the national treatment protocol. Efforts by MSF and others to introduce highly effective artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) as the first-line treatment for P. falciparum malaria in Bangladesh were successful, and the Bangladeshi government agreed to the change in November 2004. Malaria treatment is given through a wide network of clinics and malaria-treatment sites located in the northern part of Khagrachari district, nearby Rangamati district and the southern Bandarban district.
MSF also brings mobile clinics to remote villages to provide urgently needed basic health care. Often teams must enter areas on foot or by boat because roads are inadequate or nonexistent. Using games and drama, MSF's outreach workers also raise awareness about the care available at the clinics and teach villagers about malaria prevention, prenatal care and basic hygiene.
MSF supported mobile clinics in the districts of Sirajganj and Tangail and in the capital, Dhaka, when floods hit the region during July and August 2004. More than 30 million people were affected by the floods.
MSF has worked in Bangladesh since 1985.