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MSF in India, 2009
Field Staff: 533
Reason for Intervention:
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Providing healthcare to a growing population of more than a billion people poses great challenges to the Indian health authorities and there are huge disparities in services between the different states. The poorest and most remote parts of the country often have inadequate medical facilities, poor healthcare infrastructure, low-quality health standards, and a lack of medical staff. In 2009, MSF responded to epidemics and natural disasters, and treated diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) and HIV/AIDS.
Up to three million people are living with HIV in India, according to the World Health Organization. The MSF Anti-retroviral center in Mumbai offers HIV care to patients who require treatment that is not yet available in the public sector. This includes patients who experience severe side-effects to the most commonly used medication, and those who are co-infected with TB. In 2009, MSF provided more than 400 patients with antiretroviral therapy.
Providing basic healthcare
In the northeastern state of Manipur, where political and social violence is common, MSF runs four clinics providing basic healthcare, HIV/AIDS and TB treatment and counseling and maternity services. In 2009, MSF teams carried out more than 40,600 consultations, including treatment for HIV-positive pregnant women to prevent transmission to the child.
In Chhattisgarh State, tens of thousands of people were forced to move into government-run camps, or into the dense forests in the south of the state because of the conflict between Maoist rebels and government forces. MSF provided healthcare to people living in the camps, and in other settlements in the Andhra Pradesh region. MSF conducted more than 55,000 consultations.
In Jammu and Kashmir, MSF carried out basic healthcare and psychosocial counseling to a population traumatized by over 20 years of violence. MSF has worked to increase awareness of psychosocial problems and in 2009 more than 5,800 people were treated on the mental health program. MSF also provided support to six clinics in Kupwara, conducting more than 20,500 consultations.
Healthcare for kala azar and malnutrition
In the Vaishali district in Bihar state, MSF treated more than 2,000 patients for the deadly parasitic disease kala azar. In Darbhanga, teams cared for children aged between six months and five years who were suffering from acute malnutrition.
In 2009 MSF assisted the state governments of Meghalaya and Tripura in response to outbreaks of meningitis. MSF also responded to the Cyclone Aila emergency in West Bengal State, distributing relief items and setting up a medical surveillance system in the worst-affected districts to prevent possible outbreaks of disease. In October, MSF responded to the floods in Andhra Pradesh and distributed relief items to 60,000 flood victims.
Jukelha, 40-year-old mother of six, who has kala azar
‘I was really sick. I had fever and pain and I didn’t feel like eating. However, after my third dose of treatment I began to feel much better. I couldn’t even walk when I first came here. My mother had to help carry me to the bus. I’m from a village about seven and a half miles away from this health center. I have to come every day for the treatment. MSF staff told me about the sand flies and the disease. I didn’t know anything about this but I know that other people got sick from it in our village. Our neighbor got sick from it six months ago and he came here for treatment too.’
MSF has been working in India since 1999.