The projects in India are aimed at mitigating infant malnutrition in the Darbhanga region in the state of Bihar and helping with the fight against visceral leishmaniasis (or kala azar) in the nearby city of Vaishali
The Turkish initiative encompasses the provision of medical and humanitarian aid to refugees along the border town of Kilis, mainly to undocumented border crossers
Inditex, which has been working with MSF organization since 2008, will inject €0.5 million of financing into each of these projects
Pablo Isla, chairman of Inditex, and Joan Tubau, managing director of Médicos Sin Fronteras (MSF) in Spain, today signed a series of agreements for the funding of three specific projects in southern Turkey and the Indian state of Bihar, on the border with Nepal.
Inditex’s participation in these projects falls under the scope of the framework agreement established between the two entities in March 2008; over the past six years, the retailer has extended funding in almost €12 million for MSF’s work in Morocco, Mali, Greece, Somalia, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe, among other countries.
Projects in India
The Indian leg of this initiative, which is being carried out in the district of Darbhanga, consists of activating a series of emergency measures designed to combat infant malnutrition. This program got underway with the help of Inditex in 2009 and has emerged as a standard-bearer in India and internationally in the fight against this scourge.
At the time of the plan’s outset, almost 4.8% of local children under five suffered from malnutrition. Thanks to the program, over 90% of all cases of severe malnutrition are successfully resolved. The current focus of this effort is to implement these benchmark practices in the national healthcare system and to extend the model district-wide.
The project in Vaishali, meanwhile, is centered on reducing morbidity and mortality caused by visceral leishmaniasis, also known kala azar. This disease, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, is the clinical manifestation that takes most lives worldwide, as it can prove fatal if left untreated. It is characterized by swelling of the liver and spleen, accompanied by severe abdominal enlargement, weight loss, malnutrition and anaemia. Since its launch in 2007, the MSF project has enabled treatment of over 10,000 patients and yielded a success rate of more than 98%. Kala azar hits the least privileged the hardest and MSF is working frenetically to diagnose and treat the illness, while championing the cause for free medical treatment for all.
Care for refugees
The third project being funded is being run in the Turkish province of Gaziantep, which, due to its location on the border with Syria, has become the temporary home to thousands of people fleeing from this nation’s armed conflict. It is reckoned that over half a million Syrians have crossed the border to Turkey. The MSF project is focused on providing medical and humanitarian assistance to these refugees in the vicinity of the cities of Kilis and Isláhiye, which between them are sheltering more than 30,000 refugees. MSF has set up a medical centre staffed with five doctors who are currently receiving between 150 and 200 visits a day.