When the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan came under attack in October 2015, more than 14 health workers died and medical facilities were severely damaged. Basic health care services were disrupted and patients in need of urgent medical attention could no longer be treated.
With support of CERF funding, the World Health Organization (WHO), together with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health and Handicap International was quick to respond to the dire situation and helped fill the health gaps caused by the attack. As effective trauma care and rehabilitation was one of the most urgent needs, CERF’s rapid response window supported the establishment of additional trauma care facilities and a rehabilitation unit at Kunduz Regional Hospital. While the situation in Kunduz remains volatile and uncertain, the trauma care unit can now manage mass casualties and injuries. The unit has an emergency ward with 10 beds, a general surgical ward with 15 beds, a neurosurgical ward with five beds and an orthopaedic ward with 10 beds. It also has an operation area with two operating tables and essential emergency imaging and investigation equipment. Over 400 people received immediate trauma care, more than 1.200 people benefitted from physiotherapy, psychosocial support, rehabilitative services and prosthetic and orthotic services. In addition, over 40 000 people were reached through basic health services.
“Having a trauma care unit and physical rehabilitation centre available to people in Kunduz and surrounding provinces is vital in the current situation,” said Dr Richard Peeperkorn, WHO Representative in Afghanistan. “WHO is working closely with our partners to further strengthen trauma care to save lives and provide crucial health services to all those in need.”
CERF has become one of WHO’s most important contributors to emergency and humanitarian response operations. In 2015 alone, WHO transferred almost US$ 6 million of its CERF funding to 68 national and international non-governmental organizations in 18 countries, of which WHO Afghanistan received US$ 1.25 million.
“The extensive partnerships under CERF grants between UN agencies and local organisations in crises help localise humanitarian response and enhance the capacity of national actors, while at the same time fostering a coordinated and coherent response to needs,” said Lisa Doughten, Chief of the CERF secretariat.
On 22 September 2016, the project was handed over to Kunduz Regional Hospital staff to continue offering trauma care and rehabilitative services to people in Kunduz.