Libya: MSF Intervenes in a Misrata Hospital

April 30, 2011

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Libya: MSF Intervenes in a Misrata Hospital © Fouad Ismael Frederic / MSF

A 12-person MSF team is working in Kasr Ahmed hospital, in the besieged village of Misrata, setting up medical and surgical activities and providing support to the Al Hikma hospital.

An MSF team arrived in Misrata on Thursday, April 28, to strengthen the three-person team that had been there for the previous 10 days assessing local needs. The nine-person new team -- composed two surgeons, two anesthetists, three nurses, a doctor and a logistician - left Malta on a ship carrying 12 tons of medicine and medical supplies.

One of the MSF surgeons on the team is now working at the Al Hikma hospital in Misrata, the referral facility for complicated surgery, to support the Libyan medical team that has been working around the clock for several weeks.

The rest of the team is preparing to launch its activities at the Kasr Ahmed hospital, located in the eastern part of the city. Initially, the team will make improvements to the hospital's premises, restoring the operating room and organizing recovery and hospitalization rooms.

The goal is to provide medical and surgical care to the vast majority of the Misrata population, which has sought refuge in this part of the city after fleeing violent fighting in the central and southern areas, and to the African and Asian immigrants isolated around the port, awaiting a boat to transport them back home.

Medical facilities, medicine and supplies are all lacking

In addition to emergency medical, surgical and pediatric care, which should be available in the coming days, MSF plans to increase bed capacity at Kasr Ahmed hospital from the current 12 to approximately 50 beds and to restore the operating room.

According to our teams on site, the Misrata hospitals have extremely limited capacity - approximately 100 beds - and resources for a population of around 300,000.

In the area of maternal and pediatric care, MSF will increase access to emergency care for children and pregnant women by installing a second operating room and increasing the number of beds. MSF is currently the only international medical NGO in the city.

On Saturday, a boat carrying five international workers will leave Benghazi for Misrata. They will join the other members already on site. This team will focus on emergency OB-GYN, pediatric and neonatology care at the Tubah clinic. The team is composed of a midwife, two nurses, a logistician and a psychologist. It will also include five more international workers (a gynecologist, anesthetist, medical manager, operating room nurse and pediatrician), who will leave Malta on Wednesday for Misrata on a cargo ship transporting 7.5 tons of supplies.

Conditions still unstable at the Tunisian border

On April 27, government armed forces' bombs damaged the hospital in Zintan, located south of the Libyan-Tunisian border. Following those attacks, the MSF teams evacuated 18 patients by ambulance and provided them first aid and stabilization.

Gaddafi's troops trapped the opposition's armed groups between the Tunisian border and Dehiba. Confrontations continue, while most of the people who found refuge on the other side of the border are women and children, as the men returned to Libya, either to protect their houses or take part in the fighting. Medical needs are increasing in southern Dehiba, so the medical centers require MSF's help to provide stabilization, surgery and general medical care to the wounded. MSF is also providing mental health care in the camp housing Libyan refugees and in the host communities.

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