Monday, January 12, 2009

'Gaza update: MSF's activities on the 15th day of conflict'

By Staff ∙ Médecins Sans Frontières ∙ January 12, 2009

Click here to learn more and donate. -dtSecurity issues have complicated the situation. MSF faces major problems in getting to the wounded. The security conditions still prevent medical teams and humanitarian aid workers from providing aid to a population that has nowhere to flee and finds itself trapped.

The lull in fighting is not helping humanitarian aid workers do their job or patients to reach hospitals. It affects only Gaza City, not the urban areas on the outskirts. Our post-operative care clinic in Gaza City is open every day, but given the risks, very few patients manage to get there.

Our Palestinian medical team continues to provide care in the immediate area of their place of residence, but these activities are also very limited in comparison to the enormous need.

On Wednesday, 7th January, our teams visited three schools housing displaced persons. They evaluated the medical needs there and distributed medical supplies and medications. There are doctors in the group and they are providing care.

Our field teams are in constant contact with Palestinian hospitals and report that hospital workers are exhausted by the flow of wounded patients, especially at night.

An MSF surgical team is currently waiting in Jerusalem, including a vascular surgeon, a general surgeon, a nurse/anesthetist, an operating room nurse and an anesthesiologist specialised in intensive care. MSF hopes that they will be able to enter the Gaza Strip as soon as possible. This team will support the Palestinian medical teams at the Shifa referral hospital.

MSF is also awaiting final authorization to bring in 21 tons of medical supplies, including two inflatable tents. The tents would be used to increase intensive care in-patient capacity and, possibly, set up an additional operating room. An MSF logistician will also join the field teams to set up these facilities.

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Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an independent international medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid in more than 60 countries to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural or man-made disasters or exclusion from healthcare.

In emergencies and their aftermath, MSF rehabilitates and runs hospitals and clinics, performs surgery, battles epidemics, carries out vaccination campaigns, operates feeding centres for malnourished children and offers MSF Logomental health care. When needed, MSF also constructs wells, dispenses clean drinking water, and provides shelter materials like blankets and plastic sheeting.

Through longer-term programmes, MSF treats patients with infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, sleeping sickness and HIV/AIDS and provides medical and psychological care to marginalized groups such as street children.

Founded by doctors and journalists in 1971, MSF is now a worldwide movement with sections in 19 countries and an international coordination office in Geneva, Switzerland.

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