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MSF resumes attending patients in Kunduz after 2 years

MSF resumes attending patients in Kunduz after 2 years

Jul 22, 2017 - 18:44

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) or Doctors Without Borders on Saturday resumed operating a small clinic in northern Kunduz after suspending its activities about two years ago.

The clinic is the first being run by MSF since American airstrikes destroyed a hospital of the group in October 2015.

The MSF trauma center was destroyed when Talibaninfo-icon militants briefly overran the city. An American military probe concluded that the attack was a result of human error and equipment failure, among other factors.

Since the air attack by American Special Forces in 2015, which killed 42 patients, medical staff, and caregivers at the trauma center, the medical aid group has been trying to secure assurances from American and Afghan military officials that their medical facilities would be respected and protected.

An official at the MSF office in Kunduz told Pajhwok Afghan News the medical clinic’s inauguration ceremony was attended by deputy Kunduz governor, Hashmatullah, doctors’ association head, Abdul Sattar Ghafoori and two tribal elders.

He said the new clinic, not at the site of the destroyed hospital, would be open from Saturday to Wednesday and would only provide outpatient treatment to injured people from 8am until 4pm.

Patients who need advanced care including X-rays will still need to go to the government-run regional hospital, which has been flooded with patients amid heavy clashes in the province.

“The regional hospital is quite overwhelmed, so we want to try to reduce burden by treating less serious injuries,” he said.

After the airstrikes in Kunduz, the MSF maintained it would not resume its service until they were assured of security.

In response to a question, the MSF official said an agreement would be reached with the Afghan government in this regard soon.

If the proposed agreement was reached, their employees’ security ensured, the MSF hoped to begin building a new trauma center in Kunduz as early as 2018, although on a smaller scale than the previous facility.

On the other hand, Silvia Dallatomasina, head of programs for MSF in Afghanistaninfo-icon, said “the opening of this clinic is the first step toward providing more medical assistance in Kunduz, and for us it’s an important step.”

“We are still finalizing commitments but we believe to be able to reach an agreement,” Dallatomasina said.

The Kunduz public healthinfo-icon director, Abdul Mateen Atif, confirmed inauguration of the clinic by MSF. However, he said MSF delivered low-level health services for the time being.





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