Afghanistan: MSF to Resume Medical Activities in Khost
Afghanistan 2012 © Hilde Cortier/MSF
Newborn babies at the MSF maternity hospital in eastern Khost Province
KABUL/KHOST, AFGHANISTAN, OCTOBER 17, 2012—The independent medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) will resume medical activities in its maternity hospital in Khost Province, Afghanistan, which were suspended following an explosion in the hospital in April 2012.
The decision to restart medical services was made after an August 27 meeting, or jirga, between MSF staff and leading community members. Representatives from all districts of the eastern province of Khost and prominent religious figures and scholars expressed strong support at the jirga for MSF’s provision of maternal health care in the region.
“We are reopening the hospital because of the overwhelming messages of support for MSF we received from the community, and because of reassurances that our patients and medical staff will be safe inside the hospital,” said Benoit De Gryse, MSF’s country representative in Afghanistan.
In April, a bomb exploded inside the maternity hospital, injuring seven people. The attack occurred six weeks after MSF opened the facility, where more than 600 women had already delivered babies.
“Current circumstances make it possible for our teams in Khost to resume providing free, high-quality medical care for pregnant women, particularly those who cannot afford to pay for treatment and those suffering complicated pregnancies and deliveries,” De Gryse said.
Prior to reopening the hospital before the end of the year, necessary logistical work will be carried out and an all-female team of Afghan medical staff—including midwives and nurses—will be recruited to work alongside international colleagues; they are essential for the resumption of high-quality medical care in the hospital.
Support from the community and respect for the safety and security of patients, health facilities, and medical staff enable MSF to work in three other locations in Afghanistan and in more than 70 other countries.
MSF medical teams work in Ahmad Shah Baba Hospital in eastern Kabul and Boost Hospital in Lashkargah, Helmand Province. The organization also runs a surgical trauma center in Kunduz, providing lifesaving surgical care to people in northern Afghanistan. In all locations, MSF provides medical care free of charge and works in all wards of the hospitals. MSF does not accept funds from any government for its work in Afghanistan, relying solely on private funding.