Afghanistan: MSF Hospital Overwhelmed With Wounded After Heavy Fighting in Kunduz


A Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières' (MSF) trauma hospital has been overwhelmed with wounded patients since heavy fighting between government and opposition forces engulfed Kunduz city on Monday.

Since early Monday morning, MSF's medical teams have treated 171 wounded people, including 46 children. Fifty patients arrived in critical condition. The majority of patients had sustained gunshot wounds and surgeons have been treating severe abdominal, limb, and head injuries.

"The hospital is inundated with patients," said Guilhem Molinie, MSF's country representative in Afghanistan. "We have quickly increased the number of beds from 92 to 110 to cope with the unprecedented level of admissions, but people keep arriving. We have 130 patients spread throughout the wards, in the corridors and even in offices. With the hospital reaching its limit and fighting continuing, we are worried about being able to cope with any new influx of wounded."

MSF's international and Afghan medical team has been working nonstop to provide the best possible care, performing 43 surgeries late into the night on Monday. Wounded patients continued to arrive today and critical patients were also referred to the hospital from MSF's stabilization clinic in Chardara District, about 10 miles away.

Urgently needed medical supplies and medicines have been sent by road and air to Kunduz in order to guarantee continuity of care for patients in the hospital and to prepare for any additional influx of wounded.

"We are in contact with all parties to the conflict and have received assurances that our medical personnel, patients, hospital and ambulances will be respected," said Molinie. "With the government provincial hospital not currently functioning, MSF's hospital is now the only place in Kunduz where people in need of urgent trauma care can receive it."

MSF's hospital is the only facility of its kind in the whole northeastern region of Afghanistan, providing free life- and limb-saving trauma care. MSF doctors treat all people according to their medical needs and do not make distinctions based on a patient's ethnicity, religious beliefs or political affiliation.

MSF began working in Afghanistan in 1980. In Kunduz, as in the rest of Afghanistan, both national and international staff work together to ensure the best quality treatment. MSF supports the Ministry of Public Health in Ahmad Shah Baba Hospital in eastern Kabul, Dasht-e-Barchi Maternity Center in western Kabul and Boost Hospital in Lashkar Gah, Helmand Province. In Khost, in the east of the country, MSF operates a maternity hospital. MSF relies only on private funding for its work in Afghanistan and does not accept funding from any government.

Trucks preparing to leave Kabul for Kunduz. MSF has sent urgent medical supplies and medicines by road and air to Kunduz in order to guarantee continuity of care for patients in the hospital and to prepare for any further influx of wounded. MSF's hospital in Kunduz has been overwhelmed with wounded after heavy fighting engulfed Kunduz city on 28 September. MSF’s medical teams have received 171 wounded. The majority of patients had sustained gunshots wounds, with MSF surgeons treating severe abdominal, limb and head injuries. Fifty patients arrived in critical condition.