New surgical unit opens to treat Mosul’s war-wounded

3 Apr 2018
Press release
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Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) today opened a comprehensive post-operative care facility in East Mosul to provide services for people injured by violent or accidental trauma during the recent conflict to retake Mosul from the Islamic State group.

The facility is located at the Al’Salaam and Al’Shifaa hospital complex and includes a mobile operating theatre, a 33-bed in-patient ward where people can recover from surgery, mental health services and a rehabilitation unit, which will be run in partnership with Handicap International.

Heman Nagarathnam, MSF’s Iraq Head of Mission, said Mosul’s health system was severely damaged during the conflict and there was an urgent need for new medical facilities.

“Mosul had one of the best healthcare systems in Iraq. But the conflict took a staggering toll on health infrastructure, medical personnel and equipment,” he said.

“There used to be more than 3,500 beds available in Mosul’s hospitals. But nine hospitals were completely destroyed in the fighting and now there are less than 1,000 beds available. As a result, people in Mosul often struggle to access healthcare.”

“Many war-wounded patients need follow-up care. They often received hasty surgery on or behind the frontlines to save their lives, and now they need additional surgery, pain management and physiotherapy to regain use of damaged limbs and muscles and to prevent losing more or all of their movement.”

“MSF’s new facility will provide free surgeries, post-operative care and rehabilitation, especially for war-wounded patients. We will work closely with the Al’Salaam hospitals and the Ninewa Directorate of Health to refer the most urgent patients to our facility. As a medical organisation, we will also continue supporting the medical infrastructure in Mosul.”

The facility will be run by a team of 30 highly qualified international and Iraqi medical experts and will start receiving patients today. Trauma patients who need care should go to a public hospital in Mosul first, then if they fit the medical criteria, they will be referred to the MSF surgery and post-operative care facility.

In 2017, MSF worked in and around Mosul to provide lifesaving services for people caught in the violence. The organisation ran several trauma stabilisation posts in East and West Mosul, and managed four projects in hospitals offering a range of services including emergency and intensive care, surgery and maternal healthcare. MSF currently runs a hospital in West Mosul and is building a new emergency room at Al’Salaam hospital.

MSF has been working in Iraq since 1991 and currently has medical projects in eight governorates. From July to December 2017, MSF provided 28,658 emergency room consultations and performed almost 2,000 surgeries.

MSF offers neutral and impartial medical assistance regardless of race, religion, gender or political affiliation. To ensure its independence, MSF does not accept funding from any government or international agency for its programs in Iraq, relying solely on private donations from the general public around the world to carry out its work.