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MSF in India, 2008
Field Staff: 394
Reason for Intervention:
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Despite India’s fast economic growth, millions of people have limited or no access to healthcare. MSF provides medical assistance to people affected by conflicts or natural disasters in rural India and offers tuberculosis (TB) and HIV/AIDS treatment to marginalized groups in Mumbai and Manipur.
MSF provides free care and treatment to groups who can become marginalized from society, such as transgender, commercial sex workers or homosexuals who have not been able to access HIV/AIDS healthcare through the public health system. Working in a clinic in south Mumbai, MSF also offers services preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and has trained NGOs and Ministry of Health staff in HIV testing and counseling. Throughout the year, MSF conducted more than 4,200 consultations in Mumbai and more than 300 patients started antiretroviral therapy (ART).
In the northeastern state of Manipur, which has been affected by a chronic low-intensity conflict, MSF runs four clinics providing basic healthcare, HIV/AIDS and TB treatment and counseling as well as maternity services. In 2008, MSF conducted more than 50,000 consultations in Manipur. MSF has so far put 781 HIV-positive patients on ART, about a quarter of them have now been transferred to the national HIV/AIDS program.
Primary healthcare in Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh
A low-intensity conflict between Maoist rebels and government forces has displaced tens of thousands of people in government-run camps, or forced them to hide in the jungle where there is little access to healthcare. MSF provides primary healthcare and nutritional support to the people living in camps in Chhattisgarh, in settlements around villages in Andhra Pradesh and the Chhattisgarh border area, as well as in local communities in Bijapur district. In 2008, MSF’s mobile clinics treated more than 3,300 people affected with malaria in the Bijapur and Dantewada areas, while 32,600 consultations were conducted in the camps and villages around Andrah Pradesh and the Chhattisgarh border.
Kala azar (visceral leishmaniasis) in Bihar
MSF provides free diagnosis and treatment for people suffering from kala azar in Vaishali district in Bihar state. In 2008, more than 4,800 patients were screened for the disease and 1,974 received treatment with liposomal amphotericin B – a relatively new therapy for the disease. The success rate for treatment is very high: more than 98 per cent of those treated recover.
Mental health in Kashmir
In Indian-administered Kashmir, MSF offers basic healthcare and psychosocial counseling to a population traumatized by over 20 years of violence in the Kashmir valley. In 2008, MSF’s mental-health program treated 6,324 patients. MSF supported six clinics in Kupwara district with basic health care and vaccination services and conducted more than 10,000 consultations in 2008.
MSF has carried out several emergency interventions in response to serious natural disasters in India over the years. In September 2008, teams provided humanitarian assistance to tens of thousands of people in Bihar state who were displaced after the Kosi river burst its banks and wreaked havoc in the area. Many families, already desperately poor, lost all their possessions. MSF provided medical assistance to the victims of this flood and distributed non-food items such as plastic sheeting and blankets to more than 18,000 families. In 2008 MSF teams conducted more than 22,200 medical consultations.
MSF has worked in India since 1999.