In 2011, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) provided medical care to 28,000 patients in Hangu

January 2, 2012

In 2011, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) provided medical care to 28,000 patients in Hangu © P.K. Lee/MSF

Despite the tense security situation in Hangu, the international independent medical humanitarian association Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has been working inside the Hangu Tehsil Headquarter (THQ) Hospital since May 2010.

In 2011, MSF provided medical care to 20,088 patients in the emergency room, in which 955 of them were provided with emergency surgeries in the operating theatre of the hospital. Throughout 2011, MSF medical teams also referred 452 cases to Peshawar for specialised surgical and medical care. During the rainy season, MSF treated 1,526 patients with acute watery diarrhoea from July to October. MSF will continue its free, emergency, medical care in 2012, in order to help meet the consistent medical needs in the area.

MSF has also established a mass casualty preparedness plan in the hospital, to be able to quickly respond and provide emergency life saving medical care to the victims of bomb blasts, clashes and other trauma cases. On the 22 of December of 2011, following a bomb blast near a private clinic in Hangu city, MSF received four injured patients, and immediately provided them with emergency surgery. Two of them were referred to Peshawar for further specialised surgery and medical treatment, but unfortunately one of them died later. The two others injured remain hospitalised in Hangu THQ hospital.

One of the caretakers of injured patients says “If this kind of emergency surgical care was not available here, I think my family members would not be able to survive.” All the medical care provided by MSF in the emergency room and surgical department are free of charge, which helps ensure people have access to quality life-saving medical care. “I am only a driver and I cannot afford expensive treatment. But all the treatment, including food, is free of charge here. So for this, I am happy,” said one of the injured patients.

To ensure the safety of patients and medical staff, MSF implements a strict “no-weapons” policy inside the hospital. “The presence of anyone armed could turn the health facility into a target. For the security of patients and medical staff, it’s crucial that all communities and authorities respect the neutrality of the health facility, making it a safe environment for all patients, and guaranteeing that all people have access to medical treatment, regardless of their political or other affiliations,” says Abdelkader Tlidjane, MSF Project Coordinator in Hangu.

In the Mother and Child Health Centre (MCH), MSF has had one expatriate midwife assisting in handling complicated delivery cases and providing training since May 2011, while the daily services inside the MCH are run by Ministry of Health staff. So far, MSF has assisted 761 complicated delivery cases with free of charge treatment.

“With the continuous acknowledgement and support from different communities and authorities, MSF is keen to continue our assistance in the THQ hospital, to ensure patients in the area can have access to emergency medical care,” says Tlidjane.

MSF currently has about 130 international and Pakistani staff working in Hangu, including 61 staff in the emergency room and operating theatre, and one expatriate midwife supporting the MOH staff of the MCH.

MSF is a medical humanitarian association providing free emergency medical assistance to people in need, independent of any political or military groups, in about 65 countries around the world. Since 1986, MSF has been working in Pakistan with Pakistani communities and Afghan refugees who have been affected by armed conflict, natural disasters or a lack of access to medical. MSF teams are currently providing free emergency medical care in Kurram Agency in FATA, Hangu, Peshawar, Lower Dir and Malakand in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and in Balochistan province.

MSF relies solely on private financial contributions from individuals around the world and does not accept funding from any government, donor agency, or from any military or politically-affiliated group for its activities in Pakistan.

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