The medical relief organization Doctors Without Borders has begun work for a new 13-bed hospital in Kobanê, according to an article from DIHA carried in Özgür Gündem. Until now the city had just two hospitals – one military and one civilian – with a total capacity of 27-beds. Officials with the organization stressed that the city, with a population currently around 50 thousand, is suffering from a shortage of ambulances and medicine and stressed that in order to confront the public health crisis in the city a humanitarian corridor needed to be opened.
Finding medical treatment in Kobanê has become more difficult as the people who had left the city during the attack begin to return. With most of its medical facilities destroyed in the ISIS attack on the city and no fully equipped facility left standing all treatment had been conducted in just two hospitals YPG/YPJ fighters who are wounded in ongoing clashes in the canton are treated in the basement of a building with 12 beds. The capacity of the civilian hospital is just 15 beds.
In Total 10 Doctors, 25 Nurses
The number of medical staff is also insufficient. There are currently only 10 doctors and 25 nurses between the two hospitals. Despite a lack of medicine and proper equipment these healthcare workers have been working almost day and night in order to provide for the needs of their patients.
The Problem Is Growing As Refugees Return
While the lack of health care workers has created major difficulties, the lack of proper medical equipment and supplies has made it nearly impossible to treat the seriously wounded and severely ill civilian patients. With the population now close to 50 thousand as local residents continue to return previous efforts to meet local medical needs are quickly becoming insufficient. The lack of a sufficient number of ambulances has also made it difficult to transport sick and wounded patients. All of the existing ambulances are being used to bring back wounded fighters from the front. Sick patients who are unable to receive treatment in Kobanê are also experiencing difficulties when attempting to cross the border into Turkey. Despite all attempts to establish regular communication [with Turkish officials] this problem has continued.
Doctors Without Borders Has Gone Into Action
The one organization which has moved to help solve the public health crisis in the city is Doctors Without Borders. The organization has begun an effort to open a new hospital in Kobanê. Work has begun to repair a damaged building which had previously served as a school and which will now be converted into a hospital. After the building is completed necessary medical equipment and supplies will also be brought.
‘A Humanitarian Corridor Must Be Opened”
Dr. Hikmed Ehmed, a spokesperson for the Kobanê Health Council, noted that all of the city’s hospitals had been destroyed in the fighting and that there was no where for civilians to seek medical treatment, adding that Doctors Without Borders had stepped in in order to meet an urgent need. Ehmed added that after the hospital was completed patients would receive free treatment with supplies provided by Doctors Without Borders. The hospital will have a capacity of 13 beds and will initially be staffed by 3 and later 7 doctors.
Dr. Ehmed added that the public health crisis in the city could not be fully met until a humanitarian corridor was opened to the canton.