December 30, 2008

Four days after air attacks against the Gaza Strip began hospitals are already overwhelmed by an influx of wounded patients. Two Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams have begun treating them and an initial MSF truckload of medical supplies and drugs entered the Gaza Strip today.

A two-person MSF team, composed of a doctor and a nurse, are providing support to the hospital in Shifa, Gaza’s referral hospital, to triage the wounded and refer patients to the MSF clinic in Gaza City, thus easing the hospital’s workload. The facility is already overwhelmed by the influx of wounded patients. A second team – including a doctor, three nurses, and a physical therapist—has treated approximately a dozen wounded patients at that clinic. Twenty more are already scheduled for tomorrow.

Tomorrow, a third MSF teams hopes to reopen MSF’s second pediatric clinic in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip, to treat pediatric emergencies and help relieve some of the burden at Kemal Edwan hospital, which is also crowded with wounded patients.

A fourth team is planned for our Khan Yunis clinic in the southern Gaza Strip, if security conditions allow, to relieve the Al Nasser hospital (Khan Yunis) and the Al Najar hospital (Rafah).

An initial MSF truck carrying medical supplies and drugs managed to enter the Gaza Strip today. These items will allow us to re-stock our emergency inventories and supply hospital facilities in the Gaza Strip, which lack drugs and materiel. This truck contains medical kits for treating several hundred wounded and burned patients, as well as mattresses and logistical supplies.

For now, only MSF national staff are working in the Gaza Strip, but MSF is trying to strengthen its teams with international staff.

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