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Afghanistan: ICRC assists Bamyan Hospital

13-12-2001 News Release 01/49

" When we visited the hospital last week, " says Dr Daniel Brechbuehler, the ICRC medical co-ordinator for Afghanistan, " there was nothing. Even the beds, mattresses and lights had been looted. " Bamyan Hospital normally serves between 15,000 and 20,000 families in the region. But for the moment the closest hospital is in Kabul, an eight to ten hour drive away.

A local GP is providing what services he can in the hospital's outpatient department. " I saw one man come in with a gunshot wound to his leg, " says Brechbuehler, " but there is no bed for him, so he is being treated as an outpatient and will return to the hospital regularly to have his dressings changed. "

The ICRC has offered to re-equip the hospital and restore it to full operational capacity. It has already provided emergency medical supplies sufficient to treat 1,000 patients for three months. The ICRC will also provide the hospital with a complete two-table operating theatre including surgical, anaesthetic and sterilization equipment and supplies.

Beds, mattresses, lights and small traditional stoves purchased on the local market in Kabul are on their way to Bamyan. A team of ICRC water/habitation experts is also being sent to the hospital to help put up plastic sheeting, restore water and electricity supplies, repair the heating system and carry out other building maintenance work.

In addition, an ICRC nurse/hospital programme manager, surgeon and anaesthetist will arrive in the next few days. The team will help set up the medical equipment and provide whatever training is required.

Brechbuehler says th e team is being assigned to the Bamyan hospital on a temporary basis, possibly for three months, as local medical staff are expected to return to work in the coming weeks, once the hospital is operational. Local employee salaries will be paid by Shuhada, an Afghan NGO. The ICRC will monitor the situation and the evolving needs at the hospital, adjusting its plans accordingly.

The ICRC has also provided food and shelter materials to 3,500 displaced families living in makeshift shelters.

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