February 28, 2011

MSF is supporting medical facilities in and around Benghazi and reinforcing its medical teams to assist victims of violence inside Libya

Last Friday, the first Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) team was able to cross the Egyptian border into Libya, on the eastern side of the country, and reach the town of Benghazi. For the past three days, the team has been assessing the situation in the hospitals of Al-Jalaa, Al-Hawari, October 7, and in the Benghazi Medical Center (BMC) in and around Benghazi.

These medical facilities were reported to have received more than 1,800 wounded people between February 17 and February 21. Each facility is well equipped and managed to take care of the wounded and serve their medical needs. However, they are facing shortages in medical materials and drugs.

The MSF team donated medical supplies to these facilities, including consumables, dressing, sutures, anesthesia drugs, and external fixators. The team is also training local medical staff in the management of mass casualties so they are prepared in the event of new clashes.

Eight tons of medical supplies, including surgical materials, have arrived in Benghazi and additional 12 tons of supplies are on their way through Egypt to Libya.

The MSF team in Benghazi is composed of eight staff members, including three medical staff. An orthopedic surgeon, an anesthesiologist, and an operating theater nurse will join them today to assess the surgical needs of wounded patients in Al-Jalaa Hospital. Some patients currently hospitalized in this 400-bed trauma center may require second-line surgery.

To the west, an MSF team has been deployed at the now-closed Tunisia-Libya border, ready to cross over with medical material to assist victims of violence when the opportunity presents itself. Four tons of medical and surgical material arrived in Tunis over the weekend and soon will be sent towards the border.

In recent days, thousands of migrant workers have been fleeing from Libya into Tunisia. The MSF team on the border is assessing the situation in coordination with other actors on the ground coping with the massive influx of people. The team is ready and equipped to address medical needs of new arrivals, should the need arise, and will be reinforced with additional medical staff in coming days.

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