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MSF in India, 2010
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In India, MSF provides general healthcare and treatment for tuberculosis, malaria, HIV and kala azar (visceral leishmaniasis) and offers basic and specialised medical care to people living in areas afflicted by violence and conflict.
Kala azar and nutrition in Bihar
In Vaishali district, Bihar state, eastern India, MSF provides free diagnosis and treatment for people suffering from kala azar (visceral leishmaniasis). Between July 2007 and January 2011 more than 7,000 patients received treatment with liposomal amphotericin B, which is more effective and has fewer side effects than the drugs previously used. More than 98 per cent of patients recover with liposomal amphotericin B treatment and MSF hopes the national kala azar programme will adapt its treatment protocol in the near future.
In Darbhanga district, MSF provides healthcare for children aged between six months and five years who suffer from severe acute malnutrition. In 2010, more than 6,000 children received treatment, mostly on an outpatient basis.
Healthcare in Chhattisgarh
MSF operates fixed and mobile clinics in villages and camps along the Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh border as well as in Chhattisgarh, eastern India. Healthcare is provided to people living at the centre of a conflict between Naxalite (Maoist) groups and government forces. Staff heldalmost 60,000 consultations, providing antenatal care, nutritional support to malnourished children and pregnant women, and treatment for malaria and tuberculosis (TB). Health promotion activities on malaria prevention and hygiene practices, among other topics, were also conducted.
In the district of Bijapur, MSF runs a mother and child health centre, and a team set up a TB isolation room and opened an on-site TB laboratory to allow for prompt diagnosis. MSF also supports the district hospital’s surgical activities.
In August, MSF opened a new project in the northeastern state of Nagaland. MSF supported the district hospital of Mon with human resources, management expertise, training, rehabilitation of the hospital structure, waste and sanitation management, and medical supplies. From July to December, medical staff conducted almost 6,250 consultations and performed more than 150 minor surgeries in the operating theatre.
In neighbouring Manipur,MSF continued to provide medical assistance, including reproductive and child health services, to vulnerable people who otherwise would have difficulty accessing healthcare. In 2010, 25,500 general consultations and 6,650 antenatal consultations were carried out. Staff provided HIV counselling, testing and treatment as part of the basic healthcare programme. The care of some 200 patients on first-line antiretroviral (ARV) treatment in Churchandpur was handed over to the Ministry of Health. MSF continued to care for around 400 patients on second-line treatment. TB care was also offered: more than 100 patients received treatment for tuberculosis and 11 for multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB).
HIV/AIDS and TB in Mumbai
In Mumbai, the largest city in India, MSF provides comprehensive care for people with HIV who require treatment not yet available in the public sector. This includes people who experience severe side effects from first-line medicines, patients with co-infections and those who urgently need second-line ARV drugs but do not meet the public healthcare system’s criteria for treatment. The MSF team also offers treatment to people who, because of social stigmatisation, may face difficulties in accessing the public system,such as transgender people, sex workers and men who have sex with men. At the end of 2010, 310 patients were receiving ARV treatment at the clinic, 186 of whom were on second-line treatment. In addition, 23 HIV patients were also receiving care for MDR-TB.
Mental health in Kashmir
MSF offered psychosocial care to a population heavily traumatised by more than two decades of violence, providing mental healthcare to almost 4,500 patients in 2010. After an escalation of violence in July, and with the cooperation of hospital staff who treated physical injuries, MSF counsellors visited 1,900 wounded patients and offered psychological assistance to them and their families. Such “psychological first aid” helps the patients to cope after experiencing trauma. Counsellors listen to the patients’ stories, helping them come to terms with what happened, and offer practical advice on how to deal with any further psychological consequences.
As well as mental health activities, more than 16,500 basic healthcare consultations were conducted in remote rural areas of Indian-administered Kashmir.
In May, MSF teams distributed 1,500 shelter, hygiene and cooking kits to people in Ongole in Andra Pradesh who had been affected by cyclone Laila. In June and July, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, MSF helped respond to an outbreak of acute diarrhoea in south Chhattisgarh. In August, teams provided medical assistance to people affected by flash floods in Leh and surrounding areas, and distributed shelter, cooking and hygiene kits to families in need.
Following a sharp increase in malaria cases in Mumbai during the monsoon season, MSF stepped in to support the Mumbai health authorities’ fight against the disease byproviding malaria diagnostic kits and treatment kits.
MSF has worked in India since 1999.