October 17, 2011

With conflict ongoing in northern Afghanistan, MSF opened a 55-bed surgical hospital in Kunduz Province, the only trauma center of its kind in this part of the country.

KABUL, OCTOBER 17, 2011 – As violent conflict continues in northern Afghanistan, the international medical organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has opened a 55-bed surgical hospital in Kunduz Province.

Fighting over the last year in Kunduz has led to large numbers of people who have sustained bomb blast, shrapnel, and gunshot wounds, and who are in need of specialized surgical care. The new MSF hospital, which opened August 29, 2011, provides urgent surgical care and follow-up treatment for people suffering life-threatening injuries.

The MSF Kunduz Surgical Hospital, the only trauma center of its kind in northern Afghanistan, is equipped with an emergency room, two operating theaters, an intensive care ward, and X-ray, and laboratory facilities. There are separate male and female inpatient wards.

MSF services are completely free of charge and available to anyone meeting the admission criteria – which includes anyone that is either violently or accidently injured.

"The only label we use is ‘patient,’” said Dr. Dorian Job, MSF medical coordinator in Afghanistan. “Every injured person has the right to receive medical treatment, and we make no distinction between civilian and combatant.”

In all locations where MSF is working in Afghanistan, a strict no-weapons policy is implemented to ensure patient safety and security. It is imperative that no armed people are present in medical structures. Such a presence could make the facilities targets of attack.

It is the duty of all parties to a conflict to respect the rules of international humanitarian law, including those concerning the protection and respect of medical structures, medical personnel, and patients.

MSF teams also work in Ahmed Shah Baba Hospital in eastern Kabul, and Boost Hospital in Lashkargah, Helmand Province. In both locations, MSF provides free-of-charge lifesaving medical care, working in all wards of the hospitals.

MSF relies solely on private donations for its work in Afghanistan and does not accept any government funding.

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