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Gaza: Hospitals Overburdened by Influx of Wounded
December 29, 2008
2008 © Valerie Babize / MSF
Since Saturday, December 27, aerial attacks on the Gaza Strip are estimated to have killed 300 people and wounded over one thousand more, including civilians. On Saturday, MSF teams evaluated the needs of the main medical structures in the Gaza Strip, in particular Kemal Edwan hospital in the north and Shifa Hospital, the main referral hospital that was running low on medical supplies. Over the weekend MSF donated medical supplies, comprised mostly of bandages, disinfectants, and antibiotics for treating wounds and burn injuries. These supplies were taken from a pre-positioned emergency medical stock MSF maintains in Gaza.
In both Kemal Edwan and Shifa Hospitals, medical personnel are overloaded by the influx of wounded and a lack space to deal with all the patients. On Sunday, December 28, MSF teams were unable to move around the Gaza Strip, but today national staff members were able to go to the MSF clinic in Gaza City, where they are trying to treat wounded people in order to help hospitals cope with the overall number of casualties. However, the current bombing of the center of Gaza may prevent them from continuing to do so. MSF teams have not yet been able to access the MSF pediatric clinic situated close to Kemal Edwan Hospital.
A team of three MSF doctors and nurses is working in Shifa Hospital, helping with the triage of wounded and—depending on the security situation—using the MSF ambulance to refer cases to the MSF clinic. The rest of the team will continue to evaluate needs and adapt their activities accordingly.
Since July 2007, MSF has been providing post-operative care and physiotherapy to hundreds of people wounded by fighting in the Gaza Strip. In March 2008 a pediatric clinic was opened in Gaza for children under 12 years of age. In Nablus, on the West Bank, as in Gaza, MSF provides psychological, medical, and social support to families affected by violence. The team is composed of 11 international volunteers and 108 local staff members. MSF also operates a psychological support program in the West Bank town of Hebron. MSF has been working in Gaza and the West Bank since 1989.