NEW YORK/DELHI, APRIL 30, 2021—As the second wave of COVID-19 is reaching extremely alarming levels in India, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has scaled up its intervention in Mumbai, where the increasing number of people with COVID-19 has devastated the health care system and overwhelmed frontline workers.
MSF has mobilized 60 staff—including doctors, nurses, anesthesia technicians, and psychologists—and is in the process of recruiting and sending additional teams with COVID-19 experience to care for people who are affected, including those who require hospitalization and oxygen therapy. One of the ways MSF teams are responding is by caring for patients in two units within a large, 2,000-bed field hospital set up by the Indian government specifically to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
MSF is also concerned about vulnerable populations and people with other illnesses—such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis (TB)—and their ability to access medical care, including oxygen therapy. MSF teams are working to ensure continuity of care for people with drug-resistant TB at Shatabdi Hospital’s outpatient department project and at MSF’s own TB clinic in the area.
Gautam Harigovind, medical activity manager for MSF’s COVID-19 project in Mumbai, said of the situation:
Picture a thousand-bed hospital. There are 28 wards, as well as the emergency, casualty, and triage areas. It’s a makeshift hospital in a huge metal tent.