Libya: MSF brings medical relief to Tripoli hospitals

August 25, 2011

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Libya: MSF brings medical relief to Tripoli hospitals © Eymeric Laurent-Gascoin / MSF

Over the past 24 hours, Médecins Sans Frontières has been continuing to assess medical facilities in Tripoli and has begun to provide medical support.

An MSF team assessed three healthcare facilities, all of which were suffering from massive shortages of lifesaving medical supplies and equipment. MSF provided dressing materials for the treatment of the wounded, as well as antibiotics, anaesthetics and painkillers. Some health facilities also requested surgical equipment, such as external fixators and oxygen, which MSF will provide in the next few days.

Hospitals in Tripoli are receiving an increasing number of severe trauma cases. One of the clinics treated 100 wounded patients in the first day of violence breaking out. In the past few days, 90 cases of compound fractures have been treated in this clinic.

Health facilities do not have the infrastructure and systems to cope with an emergency on this scale, especially in terms of the triage of emergency cases, and in terms of numbers of beds in intensive care units and post-operative care wards. MSF is preparing to expand its support to hospitals and clinics in the next few days with additional medical staff.

The MSF team will try to access other medical facilities across the city in coming days, as the security situation permits. In Tripoli, MSF currently has three staff on the ground, who will shortly be joined by MSF medical teams from Tunisia and other locations in Libya.

Emergency response in Zawiyah and Zlitan

MSF has also sent medical teams to Zlitan, east of Tripoli, and to Al Zawiyah, in the west, to support hospitals faced with an influx of wounded. In Zawiyah, MSF surgical and medical teams are supporting the hospital, in particular the operating theatre, intensive care unit and resuscitation rooms. On Monday 22 August, 60 injured were admitted to Zawiyah hospital, and on Wednesday 24 August another 40 were admitted. The wounded are now coming from Tripoli and the area along the road between Tripoli and Zawiyah.

In Zlitan, MSF has donated surgical equipment, drugs and medical material. In the next few days, an MSF nurse, anaesthetist and gynaecologist will also work alongside Libyan medical staff in the hospital.

Other MSF activities in Libya

MSF has been working in Yefren hospital since 15 June, providing staff, medical supplies and equipment to support the emergency room, the operating theatres and the post-operative care unit. MSF saw the numbers of wounded doubling between July and August, but the situation in and around Yefren is now calmer. In Zintan, MSF is providing psychological support in health centres to people affected by the violence.

A number of the injured have also been transferred from Tripoli to hospitals in Misrata hospitals. In Qasr Ahmed hospital, where MSF has been providing surgical care since April, six people wounded in Misrata were admitted on Wednesday 24 August. MSF also continues providing mental healthcare and physiotherapy in Misrata to patients who have undergone surgery, as well as assisting a number of medical facilities with gynaecological and obstetric care. MSF continues to run a mental health programme and to provide essential medical care in prisons.

In Benghazi, MSF is providing psychological support to patients, in particular to internally displaced people living in camps around the city. A transfer to an MSF-run hospital in Amman, Jordan, has been organised for patients needing reconstructive surgery. Four people wounded in previous fighting left Benghazi on Wednesday 24 August for Amman.

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