Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) staff worked together with local hospital staff at Boost hospital, Lashkargah, the capital of Helmand province, Afghanistan, to treat 24 wounded after four explosions occurred in the city centre on Sunday morning, June 20. “Patients started arriving at the emergency room 20 minutes after the first two explosions, which happened outside a bank,” said Dr. Paulo Reis, MSF’s doctor in charge.
“Initially we received 20 patients, among them three children, with varying degrees of trauma from shell injury to shoulder lacerations. Two of these were admitted for surgery immediately, with a third shortly after.” Following the third explosion, two further people arrived for treatment. A fourth explosion occurred 10km outside of Lashkargah, resulting in two more casualties being admitted. One of these had severe facial injuries and was given life-saving respiration support.
“ It helped that the new emergency room was properly stocked, with approximately 20 staff on hand to receive patients when they started arriving,” said Dr.Reis. Three of the wounded - two children and one woman - died soon after arrival at Boost. Sixteen patients were discharged after treatment and five are currently still under care. Four of these are in a stable condition while the fifth will shortly be referred for facial reconstructive surgery.
MSF chooses to rely solely on private donations for its work in Afghanistan, and does not accept funding from any government.
In addition to its support to Boost hospital in Lashkargah, MSF currently supports Ahmed Shah Baba hospital in eastern Kabul. In both locations, MSF’s aim is to provide life-saving and free medical care using effective drugs, working in all areas including maternity, paediatrics, surgery and emergency rooms. MSF plans to extend its support to hospitals and rural health centres in other provinces in Afghanistan in 2010.