Mosul: MSF treats war wounded and supports hospitals
Friday, May 5, 2017 — Mosul/Geneva - Several hundreds of thousands of civilians are still trapped in western Mosul. The ongoing fighting, as well as the difficult humanitarian situation in the second largest city in Iraq, poses enormous challenges for MSF. Being one of the few organizations on the ground, MSF provides medical and surgical emergency relief for men, women and children who are injured in the ongoing battles in and around Mosul. Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors without borders (MSF) has expanded its operations and also supports hospitals that are experiencing supply gaps.
“Most hospitals in Mosul have been damaged or destroyed,” said Marc van der Mullen, MSF Head of Mission. “In West Mosul, medical services are severely disrupted and the ongoing fighting is causing many injuries and deaths. In East Mosul, medical facilities slowly get back on their feet but there are gaps in medical services such as post-operative care, mother and child care and inpatient care so MSF is working on addressing them.”
Today, MSF is working in six medical facilities in and around Mosul, providing lifesaving emergency and surgical care, including mother and child health care as well as providing long term post-operative care to those in need of follow up and rehabilitation following major surgery. The teams are also providing care for children suffering malnutrition, as well as primary healthcare and mental healthcare in the newly established camps for people fleeing Mosul.
Through a strategy of advanced medical posts (AMP), which can be quickly opened and moved according to the rapidly changing medical needs, MSF has so far worked to provide life-saving stabilisation and emergency care to people wounded in fighting in west Mosul. Over the last month, MSF has received 175 patients in our two AMPs in western Mosul and referred them to other medical facilities with surgical capacity, such as the MSF trauma hospital in Hammam al-Alil, south of Mosul.
Today MSF is working on broadening its medical services and setting up facilities with surgical capacity, including for emergency maternal care, as well as an inpatient paediatric department. The objective is to fill urgent gaps in medical services to provide for the most vulnerable population groups until health authorities resume services.
Hundreds of thousands of people are still trapped in West Mosul. The patients who make it to our facilities tell us that water and food is running low, that the few supplies available are extremely expensive and that access to health care is almost impossible.
In East Mosul MSF is working in a former retirement house transformed in an emergency room, operating theatre, as well as the maternity and inpatient departments. Since the hospital opened at the beginning of March, the team has seen 4,376 patients, over half of whom were emergency cases and performed 93 caesarean sections.
Also in East Mosul, MSF opened a 15-bed maternity on 19 March to provide basic emergency services allowing women to deliver safely. Since the opening, the team has brought 130 babies safely into the world.
In a third facility in eastern Mosul hospital, MSF has opened a 24/7 emergency room, that has so far received 336 patients. The team is currently setting up a surgical unit and a 32-bed ward which will be ready in the next few days.
South of Mosul
Since its opening, 1,904 patients have been received in MSF’s field trauma hospital in Hammam al-Alil, which was the closest surgical facility to West Mosul for more than a month. The majority of patients were women and children and 82% were war wounded.
At the hospital in Qayyarah, MSF treats medical and surgical emergencies. Since January, more than 5,657 patients were admitted to the emergency room. The team in the emergency room sees patients wounded in airstrikes and explosions or by mortar fire. A four bed intensive care unit was recently opened to provide care for burns victims, patients in shock and other critical cases.
As the Iraqi army advanced into west Mosul, families were able to escape. MSF teams started seeing children with acute malnutrition, as a result of food shortages in besieged West Mosul. To treat malnourished children, mainly babies under six months, MSF has set up a 12-bed intensive therapeutic feeding centre in Qayyarah hospital. In Hammam al-Alil, MSF is running an ambulatory nutrition programme and refers most severe malnutrition cases to Quayyarah hospital.
Camps for displaced people
According to the UN, over 500,000 people have been displaced from Mosul. In 17 sites hosting such displaced people, to the west of Erbil, MSF mobile teams are providing primary health care, treatment for chronic diseases (mainly diabetes and hypertension) as well as psychological and psychiatric care. The mental health programme focuses on severe cases and its activities include psychological and psychiatric consultations, group therapy sessions, psychosocial counselling and therapy for children. Since the beginning of the year, the team has carried out 14,098 medical consultations and 8,238 mental health consultations.