Responding to COVID-19 pandemic in Mumbai

© Abhinav Chatterjee/MSF

What We Do

In response to the current COVID-19 crisis in India, MSF has restarted its emergency operations in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The city is very densely populated and the poor and dilapidated hygiene conditions are a triple trigger for the virus to breed, infect and spread rapidly.

We have a team of doctors and nurses working at dedicated COVID-19 health centres in the city. The centre, operated in collaboration with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, is composed of two tents, each with a capacity of 1,000 beds, to provide treatment to people with moderate and severe COVID-19.

We are providing health promotion messages in the community, along with water and sanitation activities, in Mumbai’s M-East Ward.

Also, our teams are scaling up screening, shielding, testing and referral activities for drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) patients.

The second wave of COVID-19 in India has been devastating, with a catastrophic rise in the numbers of new infections in recent weeks.

Healthcare facilities and staff across the country are struggling to cope with the surge in the number of cases of COVID-19 due to shortage of hospital beds for people with severe cases, plus shortages of oxygen and medicines and limited human resources.

Maharashtra has reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases in India and Mumbai has been one of the hotspots in the country.

Work So Far

Since May 2020, MSF has implemented a comprehensive COVID-19 emergency intervention from the community level to the health facility level in Mumbai’s M East Ward. Working with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, MSF
supported the management of moderate cases at the Dedicated COVID-19 Health Centre (DCHC) to improve quality of care and treatment outcomes for moderate cases, to reduce the severity of their illness and consequently to decongest

Our teams carried out health promotion activities within the informal settlements (population 400,000), distributing cloth masks and soap to vulnerable groups (the elderly and people living with diabetes, hypertension, TB and HIV). Water and sanitation teams disinfected and cleaned 20 community toilet blocks (400 toilets) to reduce the risk of disease transmission within the community. 

During the second wave, MSF deployed doctors and nurses to support BKC hospital (also called Jumbo Hospital) in Mumbai, which currently has two wings for treating COVID-19 patients. Each of these wings can admit 1000 patients. During the last month, BKC activities focused on training BKC staff.

At the community level, we distributed hygiene kits to more than 4500 households and cleaned 32 toilet blocks with over 250 seats under the water and sanitation activities. The community-shielding activities to protect the vulnerable (co-morbid) population were concluded on 5th July 2021. COVID-19 preventive and health promotion activities for presumptive DRTB patients will be integrated into the activities carried out under the regular DR-TB project

MSF teams further provided prevention kits, counselling and phone follow-up to high-risk patients, including TB/DR-TB, diabetes melitus patients and the elderly. 

In June, MSF had started supporting Palghar district health authorities (in Maharashtra State) in order to strengthen health facilities in Jawhar and Dahanu talukas (blocks) to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The main objective of our intervention is to reduce the severity of disease and the mortality of COVID-19 patients, by building the capacity of the Ministry of Health staff in improving the quality of care for mild and moderate cases. We also aimed at strengthening community engagement to bring awareness to the population residing in remote villages under the 4 Primary health care centres of Jawahar talukas.

The response was closed in September 2021

installed high flow nasal oxygen machines
Hygiene kits (containing 10 cloth masks and 8 bars of soap) distributed M S
COVID-19 awareness to people
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