Thailand: Drug therapy and home care help AIDS patients

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MSF's successful campaign for local production of generic antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), run in collaboration with a network of Thai NGOs, provided direct benefits to the Thai population in spring 2001. Triple therapy ARV treatment began for ten home care AIDS patients and 30 in the hospital in Surin in May. In the Bangkruai area, MSF provides ARV drugs to 40 patients; it is hoped this program will expand to 250 patients. MSF is committed to the project for at least five years to ensure quality and continuity of care. In Bangkok, MSF makes regular home care visits to another 70 people, 20 of whom also receive antiretrovirals. MSF is also campaigning for access to drugs to treat opportunistic infections and has run a series of training sessions for Bangkok pharmacists. These projects are complemented by the ongoing work of MSF in offering technical assistance, training, and support to community hospitals, health stations, and local NGOs in the Ban Laem and Panom Thuan districts. Caring for refugees MSF assists Karen refugees from Burma in camps near the border towns of Mae Sot and Ratchaburi, and the Mons refugee community in Sangklaburi. Teams provide basic medical care, prenatal consultations, and vaccinations. Since 1999, MSF opened a health center for tuberculosis patients in Mae Sot. The program targets illegal migrant workers. Teams treat patients in the health center, at home or in the places where they work. MSF has been in Thailand since 1983. International staff: 15 National staff: 80