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MSF in India, 2012
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Many people in India still cannot access the medical services they need, despite significant economic development within the country.
Drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) is a major health problem. Drug-resistant forms of TB are much more difficult to treat, requiring at least two years of medication, which can cause serious side effects. Although growing public awareness of the issue has led authorities to increase access to treatment, the national health system’s response remains underdeveloped. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has HIV and TB clinics in Manipur, where 17 new patients began treatment for multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) in 2012. Patient numbers increased significantly when a fourth clinic was opened near the border with Myanmar in April.
A long history of insurgency, poor infrastructure and a scarcity of staff mean specialist health services are almost nonexistent in the far northeastern regions of the country. MSF supports basic and specialist healthcare, including TB services, in Mon district hospital in Nagaland.
Supporting victims of conflict
Researching better treatment options in Bihar
Bihar state has one of the highest incidences of kala azar (visceral leishmaniasis) in the world. Kala azar is transmitted by infected sandflies and without treatment it is almost always fatal.
In Biraul subdistrict of Darbhanga, Bihar, MSF has managed five feeding centers since 2009. Negotiations with the state government in 2012 will lead to the expansion of MSF’s model for community based management of malnutrition throughout Darbhanga in 2013: for the first time in India, treatment for children with severe malnutrition will be integrated into the state’s public health system, from the community level and basic health facilities up to the intensive care unit that MSF will build at the district hospital.
Gopal *, Mumbai
I was working as a cook when I was first diagnosed with drug-resistant TB. The treatment involved six months of injections every day. It was very difficult – every day there was pain. After that I had to take 15 to 17 different tablets every day. I used to just stay at home. It has been six months now since I finished my treatment. Now I am free of tension and I want to earn money and live life properly. My family are happy because I’ve got my job back and I’m able to support them.
*The patient’s name has been changed.
At the end of 2012 MSF had 733 staff in India. MSF has been working in the country since 1999.