MSF has a number of long-standing projects in India, which we run in conjunction with the state authorities to address existing healthcare needs and emerging public health concerns.
We also run mobile clinics in remote areas of the country, where even preventable, treatable conditions such as malaria can assume life-threatening proportions.
Our teams are currently responding to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic in the country, including running a 100-bed field hospital in Bihar state.
We provide medical and psychosocial care for people living with HIV and drug-resistant tuberculosis in and around Mumbai. In this city with 22 million inhabitants, around 50,000 people have TB, and 4,000 are infected with drug-resistant strains of the disease. We also offer specialised care for TB, HIV and hepatitis C in four clinics in the northeastern state of Manipur. From 2017 to 2019, we supported the Ministry of Health in Meerut city, Uttar Pradesh, to develop an effective, decentralised programme for diagnosing and treating hepatitis C. Kala azar is also endemic in India. It is particularly prevalent in Bihar, where we focus on addressing kala azar-HIV co-infection and providing holistic care to people living with advanced HIV.
A third of the world’s severely acutely malnourished children live in India, according to joint estimates by UNICEF, the WHO and the World Bank Group. Since 2009, our teams have treated over 17,000 children with severe acute malnutrition in India in the states of Bihar and Jharkhand, using an innovative community-based model. In Jharkhand, we treated nearly 1,000 children with severe acute malnutrition in rural and tribal areas in 2019 and conducted research. The results will be shared with policymakers and health workers to demonstrate a model for better identifying child malnutrition.
In the capital, Delhi, we provide medical and psychological care to victims of domestic and sexual violence, and raise awareness about the importance of seeking timely medical and psychological care. We work with community-based organisations, police, government protection agencies and the health ministry to highlight the clinic’s services and create an efficient referral system. We also engage the community in discussions on domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse.
Since 2001 we have been offering counselling in Jammu and Kashmir, where years of conflict have taken a toll on people’s mental health. Our work includes raising awareness of the support available, reducing the stigma associated with mental health, and emphasising the importance of seeking assistance.
We have been investigating antibiotic resistance in Asansol district since 2015, where we also run community outreach initiatives promoting the importance of good hygiene practices, and the rational prescription and consumption of antibiotics.
Have you heard of kala azar?
Kala azar is a neglected but potentially fatal tropical disease. India accounts for 30 per cent of cases worldwide.
This short animation explains what kala azar is, how it relates to HIV, and what we are doing in response.
Since 80 per cent of India's kala azar cases are reported in Bihar, we set up a programme there in 2007.
People living with HIV are particularly vulnerable to kala azar, so since 2016 we have been focusing on treating patients co-infected with the two diseases, in partnership with the Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences (RMRIMS) in Patna, Bihar.
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