10 October 2010

The girl suffered a severe arm injury in a rocket attack on her house, in which her father was killed.
Photo:Michael Goldfarb

Kabul – As violent conflict continues in northern Afghanistan, the international medical organisation Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has opened a 55-bed surgical hospital in Kunduz Province. The hospital, which opened on August 29, provides urgent surgical care and follow-up treatment for people suffering life-threatening injuries.

Fighting over the last year in Kunduz has led to large numbers of people who have sustained bomb blast, shrapnel, and gunshot wounds, and who are in need of specialized surgical care. The new hospital is the only trauma centre of its kind in northern Afghanistan, and is equipped with an emergency room, two operating theatres, intensive care, as well as X-ray and laboratory facilities. There are separate male and female inpatient wards. MSF services are completely freeof charge and available to anyone meeting the admission criteria – which includes anyone that is either violently or accidently injured.

An MSF nurse prepares a young Afghan man for an immediate operation in the surgical ward at the MSF hospital in Kunduz.
Photo:Michael Goldfarb

"The only label we use is ‘patient,’” said Dr. Dorian Job, MSF medical coordinator in Afghanistan. “Every injured person has the right to receive medical treatment, and we make no distinction between civilian or combatant.”

In all locations where MSF is working in Afghanistan, a strict no-weapons policy is implemented to ensure patient safety and security. It is imperative that no armed people are present in medical structures. Such a presence could make the facilities targets of attack. MSF relies solely on private donations for its operations in Afghanistan, and does not accept any government funding.

It is the duty of all parties to a conflict to respect the rules of international humanitarian law, including those concerning the protection and respect of medical structures, medical personnel, and patients.


MSF teams also work in Ahmed Shah Baba Hospital in eastern Kabul, and Boost Hospital in Lashkargah, Helmand Province. In both locations, MSF provides free-of-charge lifesaving medical care, working in all wards of the hospitals.
MSF relies solely on private donations for its work in Afghanistan and does not accept any government funding.

For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact: Kate Ribet, Communications Officer, Mobile: +27 (0)79 872 2950, E-mail: kate.ribet@joburg.msf.org

Find out more about MSF in Afghanistan