Peshawar: Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders, has established its second satellite clinic in the outskirts of Peshawar at basic health unit Telaband, to ensure medical care for people suffering from Cutaneous Leishmaniasis (CL). The new clinic will help increase diagnosis and treatment of the skin disease in Peshawar and surrounding districts, and has been set up in collaboration with the Department of Health, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Cutaneous leishmaniasis is caused by a parasite transmitted by the bite of an infected female phlebotomine sandfly. The disease appears in the form of a small lesion and, if not treated, can cause severe physical disfigurement. It is not fatal but may expose patients to stigma and discrimination in their community. Cutaneous leishmaniasis is one of the main tropical diseases in Pakistan.
In November 2021, MSF opened its first satellite clinic in Rural Health Centre Badhbher, Peshawar. Fifty-nine patients have been put on treatment in the past two months. The newly established Telaband satellite clinic will work on the same model of care. The clinic at Basic Health Unit Telaband receives patients who are diagnosed at MSF’s Cutaneous Leishmaniasis centre at the Government Naseerullah Khan Baber Memorial Hospital (GNKBMH). “There are a number of people suffering from cutaneous leishmaniasis in the region and the satellite clinics will help provide extended medical treatment to people in need, in the surrounding districts of Peshawar,” says Delphine Convert, MSF Project Coordinator in Peshawar. “The satellite clinics are part of our extended support to the health department to improve access of healthcare in the community. The specialized care is free of charge.” The treatment of CL requires a daily or biweekly injection over the course of three to eight weeks, depending on the severity of the disease. Many patients are not able to complete their treatment because the trip to hospital for those injections is too difficult or too expensive. The satellite clinics; RHC Badhbher and BHU Telaband will help patients continue treatment close to their communities.
MSF has seven CL centres in Pakistan: three in Balochistan, one in Bannu and three in Peshawar including two newly opened satellite clinics; Badabher and Telaband. MSF also plans to open another cutaneous leishmaniasis centre at Khalifa Gulnawaz Hospital in district of Bannu in early 2022.
In 2021, MSF screened 9,458 patients for cutaneous leishmaniasis and 6,857 patients are started on treatment for cutaneous leishmaniasis. By the end 2021 MSF cured 4,655 patients in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan centres.
MSF has been providing diagnostic and treatment services for CL at GNKBMH in Peshawar since 2018 and in District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital in Bannu since 2020 in collaboration with the health department, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The facilities at GNKBMH and DHQ hospital Bannu include a laboratory for microscopic diagnosis of CL and a treatment center, where patients receive medical treatment, wound dressing, psychosocial counselling and health awareness education.
Source: Relief Web dated February 8, 2022