Patna/ Darbhanga, March 1, 2015: Over 300 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) have been successfully treated at the 30-bed specialised Malnutrition Intensive Care Unit (MICU) in Darbhanga Medical College Hospital (DMCH).
The medical facility, which was established a year ago on March 1, 2014 by the international medical humanitarian organisation Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), provides specialised care to severely malnourished children with severe medical complications. It is part of a 3-tier model of care which is implemented by MSF in Darbhanga in collaboration with the DMCH staff.
Appreciating MSF’s model of care, the Principal of DMCH, Dr. Rabindra Kumar Sinha said, “Centres like MICU must be made available in many more places to enhance treatment coverage.´´
Placed at the top of the tier, the MICU is the only facility of its kind in India. It is unique in the sense that it only caters to severely malnourished children aged between 6 months – 5 years who suffer from serious co-morbidities, such as severe diarrhoea, sepsis, severe respiratory tract infection, and severe anaemia among other ailments. For cases with mild or moderate complications, there is a Nutrition Rehabilitation Unit (NRU) at a level below the MICU.
“MSF’s experience shows that among the patients admitted into its malnutrition treatment program, more than 80% were treated at the bottom tier of Primary Health Centres (PHCs),´´ said Dr. Prince Mathew, Deputy Country Director, MSF. Accredited Social Health Activists or ASHAs in the villages identify and screen SAM patients and refer them to the nearest PHC, where trained government Auxiliary Nurse Midwives or ANMs provide the necessary nutritional and medical care.
Since 2009 MSF has provided curative treatment to more than 17,000 children suffering from SAM in Bihar’s Darbhanga district, and believes that integrated paediatric nutritional care within the public health system is critical to the management of SAM cases.
Given the lack of access and availability of treatment for SAM, a decentralized approach such as the 3-tier one of MSF not only ensures greater treatment coverage for SAM children, but also reduces the risk of patients defaulting on treatment.
About MSF in India
MSF is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, exclusion from healthcare and natural disasters. MSF has been working in India since 1999, and provides medical treatment to thousands of patients in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra, Manipur and Telangana. To support MSF or simply to obtain the latest information on MSF’s medical humanitarian work in India and around the world, visit our website www.MSFindia.in.
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