MSF 1999 Report: Mutilations of civilians in Sierra Leone
24 May 1999
Following the renewal of fighting in Freetown, the MSF team had to leave the capital on 26th December 1998. On the 31st of January, four volunteers were able to re-enter the war-torn city and restart the surgical program in Connaught Hospital. In 12 days, 85 wounded patients were treated, of which 29 were amputees. At that time, the revival of clashes around the Freetown peninsula resulted in the renewed admission of mutilated people to the hospital. Since February, the MSF surgical team working alongside hospital personnel has carried out 713 operations. MSF's surgical activities have been primarily focused on war related injuries. However, MSF has also been working on medical and sanitary care in a camp for 747 displaced war-wounded and amputated people which houses many ex-surgical patients from Connaught Hospital, and their families. MSF began its work in Connaught, Freetown's main hospital, during the military coup d'état of May 1997. Urgent surgical programs were established during crisis periods: from February to March 1998, 960 operations were conducted, and in May 1998, the team had to face a new surgical emergency. MSF pursues other support programs to health structures within Freetown, as well as in Bo and Pujehun. 22 MSF volunteers were working in Sierra Leone at this time.