Afghanistan

Last update: January, 2016

On Saturday 3 October 2015 the MSF Trauma centre in Kunduz was hit several times during sustained bombing by coalition forces, and was very badly damaged.

The total number of dead is known to be at least 42, including 24 patients, 14 staff and 4 caretakers.

As MSF had informed all fighting parties of hospital's GPS coordinates, this attack constitutes a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law.

MSF demands that a full and transparent investigation into the event be conducted by an independent international body.

Read more about this tragic event.

In Afghanistan, MSF supports the Ministry of Public Health in Ahmad Shah Baba hospital in eastern Kabul, Dasht-e-Barchi maternity in western Kabul and Boost hospital in Lashkar Gah, Helmand province. In Khost, in the east of the country, MSF runs a maternity hospital. MSF relies only on private funding for its work in Afghanistan and does not accept money from any government. MSF opened Kunduz Trauma Centre in August 2011 to provide high quality, free medical and surgical care to victims of trauma such as traffic accidents, as well as those with conflict related injuries from bomb blasts or gunshots.

Activities from 2015 International Activity Report

On 3 October 2015, the MSF Trauma Centre in Kunduz, Afghanistan, was destroyed in an aerial attack that killed 42 people, including 14 MSF staff, 24 patients and four patient caretakers.

At the time of this report, MSF had not yet made a decision regarding restarting medical activities in Kunduz and was in the process of analysing and understanding the circumstances of the attack. MSF is seeking explicit agreement from all parties to the conflict, including the Afghan authorities and the US military, that there will be no military interference or use of force against MSF medical facilities, personnel, patients or ambulances. Equally, that MSF staff can safely provide medical care based solely on medical needs, without discrimination, and regardless of patients’ religious, political or military affiliations.

MSF opened the hospital in Kunduz in August 2011, in order to provide free, high-quality surgical care to victims of general trauma, such as traffic accidents, as well as patients with conflict-related injuries. It was the only facility of its kind in the whole northeastern region of Afghanistan. Independently run by MSF, the 84-bed hospital had an emergency room, an intensive care unit, three operating theatres, outpatient and inpatient departments (with separate surgical wards for male and female patients), a physiotherapy department, a laboratory, an X-ray room and a pharmacy. Other services included mental healthcare and health promotion. The hospital offered services not only to the residents of Kunduz province but also to patients from neighbouring provinces such as Badakhshan, Takhar, Baghlan, Balkh and Samangan. The hospital’s capacity reached 92 beds by September 2015, just before it was bombed.

Between January and August, more than 2,400 patients were admitted to the centre, most of whom (88 per cent) had been injured in road or domestic accidents. Twelve per cent presented with injuries caused by explosions, gunshots or bombings. Over the same period, MSF staff carried out 18,088 outpatient consultations and 4,667 surgical interventions, including orthopaedic surgery involving internal fixation techniques to repair bones.

Following heavy fighting in Kunduz province in May and June, there were huge influxes of wounded people. In the three weeks after the announcement of the start of the annual ‘fighting season’, medical staff treated 204 war-wounded patients, 51 of whom were women and children. In June, MSF opened a district advanced post (DAP), a stabilisation clinic in Chahardara – 15 kilometres from Kunduz city – because people living in the area were struggling to access the trauma centre due to fighting, road blocks and checkpoints. Nurses there tended to the wounded and then arranged for them to be transferred to Kunduz trauma centre for advanced care. With the hospital closed, nurses are now only able to provide much-needed basic care in Chahardara.

On 1 July, three months before the aerial attack, heavily armed men from the Afghan Special Forces entered the MSF hospital compound, physically assaulted and threatened MSF staff, and proceeded to arrest three patients. After an hour, the men released the patients and left the hospital. MSF condemned this incident as an unacceptable breach of international humanitarian law, which protects medical services from attacks.

Read more about MSF's activities in Afghanistan in 2015.

Year MSF first worked in the country: 1980.

 

2015 Key figures
Outpatient consultations 366,200
Births assisted 55,800
Surgical interventions 8,100
No. staff in 2015 2,303
2015 Expenditure €27.2 million

Figures from 2015 International Activity Report
and 2015 International Financial Report

Activity Reports

Financial Reports

 

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