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MSF Supporting Hospital in Western Aceh
January 11, 2005
MEULABOH, Indonesia, January 11, 2005 - Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is now supporting the newly functioning pediatric, surgical, and medical wards in Meulaboh hospital. On January 9, 40 patients were in the surgical ward, many of whom were suffering from infected wounds caused by the tsunami two weeks ago. MSF has also been taking care of two premature babies that weigh only five pounds.
Along the west coast of Aceh, MSF has set up two mobile clinics focusing on Bubon and Samatiga, near Meulaboh. The mobile clinic in Bubon is providing care for around 1,200 displaced people, while in Samatiga the MSF team is assisting around 51,000 others also forced from their homes.
On January 9, a medical team traveled by helicopter to Lamtengoh. Of the 18 villages around the Sampoiniek district in Lamtengoh, around 90 percent have been destroyed. The MSF team provided brief medical consultations for 33 patients in a marketplace that hosts around 75 displaced people. Patients referred to MSF psychologists told stories of how they had lost family members and friends during the tsunami. A fisherman with his body covered in wounds and scratches told the team how his pregnant wife had been killed, while a teacher recounted how she had escaped up a hill to witness her village being washed away. Her 14-year-old daughter is still missing.
Three further helicopter trips were made on Sunday. In Legan, a medical team was picked up having stayed in the town overnight, the second helicopter dropped off a team and medical supplies in Meulaboh and the third traveled to Lamno with water and sanitation materials.
The mobile clinic team in Banda Aceh went to Leupung Mosque on Sunday and performed 67 consultations, with headaches-symptomatic of psychological trauma-upper respiratory tract infections, and skin diseases as the main pathologies. Transportation problems in the area make it extremely difficult to refer patients, and access to health care remains severely limited.
Also in Banda Aceh, two charter planes arrived from Jakarta with 20 tons of supplies, including mattresses, buckets, and tents.