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MSF in Thailand, 2008
Field Staff: 221
Reason for Intervention:
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Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is providing medical assistance to displaced people and vulnerable groups, ethnic minorities, and migrants who would not otherwise be able to access healthcare.
HIV/AIDS: handover of projects
MSF introduced antiretroviral therapy (ART) in Thailand in late 2000. This played a key role in showing that lifelong and complex HIV/AIDS care and treatment can be implemented in settings that are less developed. Working closely with the ministry of health and local partners, MSF has offered treatment and care to thousands of patients over the years. MSF has also supported HIV/AIDS patient groups and Thai civil society in their fight for access to high-quality and affordable treatment through the production of generic drugs. Widely praised for its universal access to ART, Thailand has progressively improved its capacity and the quality of the treatment and care available. The Thai government has been able to include an increasing number of patients from ethnic minority groups and migrants in its national health scheme, and MSF progressively handed over all its HIV/AIDS projects throughout 2008.
Tuberculosis: Mae Sot
In Mae Sot on the Thai-Burmese border, MSF has been treating undocumented migrants from Myanmar for tuberculosis (TB) and multidrug- resistant TB (MDR-TB) since 1999. TB is endemic in Thailand and Myanmar and represents a serious problem for a population with limited access to healthcare. In 2008, MSF conducted 4,620 medical consultations: 319 patients tested positive for TB, and 43 began MDR-TB treatment. MSF also offers HIV/AIDS care and ART to HIV-positive and co-infected patients. In 2008, 2,085 HIV consultations were carried out and 52 new HIV/AIDS patients were registered in the program.
Malaria: Sangklaburi/Mon State
In Sangklaburi, along the border with Myanmar, MSF is running a cross-border malaria project that supports ethnic Mon living in resettlement sites and villages inside Mon State in Myanmar. Malaria is endemic in the area and MSF carried out more than 13,542 consultations in 2008, confirmed 4,360 cases of malaria, and distributed 8,381 bed nets, meeting the needs of 16,698 inhabitants. MSF has also provided essential drugs to nine health posts in Mon State, and runs small vaccination campaigns regularly.
Providing primary healthcare to Lao Hmong refugees
MSF has been providing primary healthcare to the Lao Hmong in Huai Nam Khao village, Petchabun province, northern Thailand, since July 2005. In 2008, the Thai government repatriated more than 2,000 people to Laos, leaving only 5,700 Hmong in Petchabun by the end of the year. In protest, the Hmong staged a march; hundreds began a hunger strike and the camp was set on fire. This left the displaced with limited access to safe drinking water and inadequate sanitary conditions for weeks.
MSF is the only health organization active in Petchabun and has repeatedly denounced the forced repatriation of Hmong people. In 2008, MSF conducted more than 27,600 consultations, mainly for respiratory infections, diarrhea, and skin infections. This also included more than 2,500 antenatal care consultations, an important focus for the project. Three psychologists are providing mental-health support and MSF is in charge of the distribution of food and non-food items in the camp.
In Phang Nga, MSF has been providing healthcare to undocumented migrants crossing from Burma to work in Thailand. MSF runs mobile clinics at migrants’ work sites and supports the local hospital and health posts. In 2008, more than 3,600 medical consultations were carried out at the hospital’s outpatient department , and 235 patients were hospitalized. MSF also conducted over 1,500 antenatal consultations and 222 deliveries. In December MSF began the handover of its activities, which should be finalized by mid-2009.
MSF has been working in Thailand since 1985.