MSF treats wounded as spring offensive rages in north
KUNDUZ (Pajhwok): Heavy fighting between Afghan forces and armed groups in the northeastern Kunduz province is increasingly isolating people living in districts outside the provincial capital, where the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) trauma center has been treating wounded patients, a statement from the MSF said Saturday.
Kunduz had been considered one of the more stable provinces in the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, but fighting in the area increased significantly last year and now the so-called “spring offensive” has brought with it intense combat, the statement added.
In a recent three-week period, MSF medical staff in at the Kunduz trauma center treated 204 war-wounded patients, the vast majority of them injured by gunshots or bomb blasts. Of these patients, 51 of them were women and children.
"The proportion of war-wounded patients in the center has more than doubled compared to the same period last year, from 6 percent to 14 percent," says Laurent Gabriel, MSF coordinator at the trauma center.
"The surgeons are dealing with severe abdominal and chest injuries, with many patients requiring a series of complex surgical interventions, Gabriel added."
The situation is volatile and the flow of wounded arriving to the emergency room is sporadic, ranging from five in one day to as many as 35 on another.
This is a reflection of the unpredictability of the conflict, as well as the difficulties that people in outlying districts have in accessing the hospital in the city, the statement added.
It is difficult to have a clear view of what is happening in the districts outside the city, where fighting is ongoing," says Gabriel. "We are very concerned that people living in these areas are not able to make it to the trauma center for treatment in time, due to the continued fighting, and the fact that they have to face numerous checkpoints to get into the city.
Throughout the province, Kunduz residents restrict their movements to the minimum and prefer to stay indoors. As a result, the number of traffic accident victims arriving to MSF’s trauma center has decreased significantly—from 109 patients the first week of April to 60 in the first week of May. The emergency rooms remain busy, however, with the medical teams treating 1,470 patients over the past three weeks.
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