The longstanding low-intensity conflict in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Telangana has left a large part of the population in these states with limited or no access to healthcare. Committed to bringing quality medical care to people caught in crisis, regardless of race, religion or political affiliation, Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) started working in Chhattisgarh in 2006. MSF began with addressing the medical needs of the displaced population and is currently one of the only healthcare providers, especially in very remote areas of these states.
MSF conducts mobile clinics to provide free primary healthcare services to the people in remote areas. This includes reproductive care, immunisation, and treatment for TB, malaria, skin diseases, diarrhoea, bacterial infections, and gastritis among others. A small team comprising doctors, translators, drug dispensers, nurses, assistants and other support staff carry medical equipment including malaria kits, medication, mosquito nets, lab tests, weighing scales etc. to cater to the medical needs of the population.
In 2015, MSF conducted 21 mobile clinics per week at 14 different locations. MSF's mobile teams were also instrumental in referring 656 patients to relevant hospitals in Bhadrachalam where 619 secondary care interventions were done. During every visit, health information and hygiene practices are shared with the population. MSF staff also trains community health workers to recognise and treat common diseases, such as malaria and diarrhoea.
MSF runs a 15-bed Mother & Child Health Centre (MCHC) in Bijapur, Chhattisgarh, where 386 babies were delivered in 2015. MSF staff also carried out 6,788 antenatal consultations at the MCHC in 2015.
Although malaria is preventable and easily treatable if diagnosed on time, it remains a major health concern in remote areas as a result of lack of awareness about the disease and unavailability of treatment. In 2015, MSF treated 13,815 patients for malaria.
People suffering from severe malaria were either treated at in-patient facilities in Bijapur or referred to secondary health facilities. As a preventive measure, MSF health promoters conducted awareness sessions to inform the population on how to take precautions against the disease and also distributed insecticide-treated mosquito nets, especially to pregnant women.
In 2015, MSF started TB treatment for 88 patients, one of whom is under multi-drug resistant TB treatment.
MSF provided 10,554 vaccinations against Hepatitis B, DTP, Polio, Measles and Tetanus in line with the MoH EPI programme.
The MSF health education team plays an active role in promoting a healthy lifestyle and educating individuals and groups about common diseases, prevention and treatment, including services provided by MSF. They conduct group and individual sessions at the MCHC and mobile clinics on a variety of topics, including malnutrition, malaria, EPI, skin disease, diarrhoea, hygiene, tuberculosis and reproductive health. The health educators also make weekly visits to schools in Bijapur town to educate young students about common childhood diseases and to raise awareness of the services that MSF provides. In 2015, teams focused on deeper interactions with the community to better understand their needs and health seeking behaviour.
Accordingly, the objective henceforth is to integrate and develop a community-based approach to health.