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Indonesia: ICRC field hospital opens in Banda Aceh

19-01-2005 News Release No. 05/9

A 100-bed ICRC field hospital opened in Banda Aceh earlier this week.


It is staffed by over 30 medical specialists from the Norwegian Red Cross and other National Societies and by locally hired medical and support personnel, who will number 190 within a few weeks. When fully completed, the hospital will consist of 25 tents and cover needs in surgery, gynaecology, maternity and paediatrics.

The hospital was donated by the Norwegian Red Cross and set up in close cooperation with the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) and the health authorities. The plan is for the hospital to remain operational for three to six months, but it might be needed for up to a year as the main hospital in Banda Aceh was severely damaged.

The facility, which is serving as a referral hospital, has already admitted nearly 40 seriously wounded tsunami victims. Outpatients are also treated, and people started queuing up as soon as it became known that the hospital was open.

" The first day we had four outpatients, yesterday the number rose to 40 a nd today we had 70 before lunch. Before the end of the day, the number will probably be at least 150, " said Dr Carlo David Schebesta of the Norwegian Red Cross. " So far most of the outpatients have been suffering from post-traumatic stress. More than anything else, this group of patients needs someone to talk to, " he added.

The hospital is still being completed and will eventually also have an isolation ward for treating up to 100 patients in the event of an outbreak of infectious disease. Because many patients have nowhere to go after receiving treatment, the ICRC is also setting up a camp inside a nearby stadium for up to 400 discharged patients and their relatives, where follow-up medical services will be provided.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Vincent Lusser, ICRC Geneva, tel. ++41 79 217 32 64