Walking that extra mile

MSF’s work is based on humanitarian principles. MSF strictly adheres to the principles of neutrality and impartiality while delivering medical assistance. MSF does not take sides.

The longstanding conflict in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Telangana has jeopardised healthcare in these areas. 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.

For security reasons and fear it is difficult for the population of these remote areas to seek medical care. MSF hence introduced mobile clinics to provide free primary healthcare services including diagnostic tests, vaccination, malaria treatment, antenatal and postnatal consultations and health education by reaching out to them. A small team comprising doctors, translators, drug dispensers, nurses, assistants and other support staff travel long distances – sometimes for as long as an hour and a half on foot –  carrying medical equipment including malaria kits, medication, mosquito nets, lab tests, weighing scale etc. to cater to the medical needs of the population living in these areas.

In Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh, MSF operates a small hospital that offers specialised care for mothers and children. Medical staff also give advice on family planning, care for newborns and babies with low weight at birth. MSF supports the MoH district hospital in providing emergency obstetrics care and lab facilities.

MSF team on its way to set up a mobile clinic in one of the remote areas of Chhattisgarh.
These remote areas have no other access to healthcare. Photo: Malika Gupta/MSF

A team of doctors, translators, drug dispensers, nurses, assistants and other support staff walk to set up a mobile clinic. Due to the remoteness of these areas, access by vehicles is not always possible. Sometimes the teams walk for as long as an hour and a half to reach the patients. While walking, each team member carries around 10 kgs of medical supplies – malaria kits, medication, mosquito nets, lab tests, weighing scale and other necessary medical equipment. Photo: Malika Gupta/MSF

Mothers with young children wait for consultation at the MSF mobile clinic in Pusuguppa – a small village in Telangana. After reaching the site where the mobile clinic is to be set up, the team quickly organises separate areas for registration, waiting, lab, health promotion and consultations. Within a few minutes, the clinic for the day is ready! Photo: Sami Siva/MSF

MSF health promoters demonstrate the best way to use the mosquito net at a mobile clinic.
MSF distributes free mosquito nets as a preventive measure to fight malaria – the most common illness in these remote areas. Photo: MSF

MSF nurse provides information on family planning and reproductive healthcare to young mothers who came for treatment at the MSF mobile clinic. Health promotion is one of the important components of the mobile clinics besides delivery of quality medical care. Photo: Sami Siva/MSF

MSF health promoters conduct a session on basic hygiene at a mobile clinic. Photo: Sami Siva/MSF

MSF provides free consultation, diagnostics and treatment to the patients. Photo: Sami Siva/MSF

MSF nurse giving consultation to a TB patient. TB treatment in remote areas is challenging. The long treatment with side effects requires the teams to follow up with patients to ensure the medication is taken; to reduce defaulter rate. However, in remote areas reaching out to patients is not always easy. Photo: MSF

Mother with her children at the MSF Mother and Child Healthcare Clinic in Bijapur, Chhattisgarh, for a routine checkup of her two year old daughter who was diagnosed with malnutrition. Besides providing primary healthcare through mobile clinics, MSF operates a mother and child healthcare clinic in Bijapur. MSF also supports the MoH run district hospital and refers patients to the hospital. Photo: Malika Gupta/MSF

A pair of premature twins under observation at the MSF Mother and Child Healthcare Clinic in Bijapur, Chhattisgarh. Photo: Malika Gupta/MSF

The mobile clinic team walking back from the mobile clinic site. In 2014, MSF was instrumental in treating 14,657 malaria cases, delivering 397 babies and carrying out 63,231 consultations. The teams work hard to engage with communities and authorities to create safe spaces where healthcare can be delivered and received. MSF continues to walk that extra mile to deliver healthcare to populations in need. Photo: Malika Gupta/MSF

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