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The New Arab

Mosul hospital rebuilt from ruins of battle

Mosul's Al Khansaa hospital was completely destroyed by war [Sacha Myers/MSF]

Date of publication: 30 November, 2017

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One of the largest hospitals in Iraq's Mosul has been rebuilt from the rubble thanks to a team from Doctors Without Borders, who have provided care for returning war-wounded residents.
After the battle to retake Iraq's second city from Islamic State militants, Al Khansaa Pediatrics Teaching Hospital in eastern Mosul was in ruins, a burnt skeleton of wood and metal was all that remained.

For the hundreds of thousands of returning residents who had fled the fighting, treatment for war wounds and malnutrition, from living for months on rations, was vital.

But with infrastructure decimated by car bombs and air strikes, as well as years of IS rule, there were few places to turn.

Doctors Without Borders, known by its French acronym MSF, ensured those who needed help had somewhere to go by putting one of Mosul's largest hospitals back into action.

Head of mission Nicholas Papachrysostomou, who oversaw the project at Al Khansaa, said: "When we started working here, it was chaos. It was really shocking to see inside the hospital. It was utterly destroyed.

"Everything was very dirty and burnt objects could be seen in the corridors and in the patients' rooms. Mosul has gone through an excruciating and painful process to reach the point where it is today."
When we started working here, it was chaos. It was really shocking to see inside the hospital. It was utterly destroyed.
Mosul's Al Khansaa hospital was in ruins [Sacha Myers/MSF] 

The charity has rebuilt the emergency room, which had been completely destroyed, restored an intensive care unit, also destroyed, and rehabilitated some of the rooms in the pediatric ward.

It also renovated wash rooms and a plumbing system for a clean and safe environment.

Despite MSF's work, 60 percent of the hospital is still crumbling [Sacha Myers/MSF] 

From July to October, MSF teams saw 2,532 admissions in the emergency room, 746 admissions in the inpatient department and treated 159 malnourished children.

The majority of patients suffered from diarrhoea and respiratory infections. Some people coming from the camps and west Mosul, which was more affected than the east side of the city, suffered from malnutrition. 

Mothers had been diluting the milk for their children because, under Islamic State rule, the price for one can of infant formula was so high. Because mothers were giving the children diluted milk, the children were losing weight.

MSF established a nutrition program with spaces for inpatient and outpatient feeding to help children get back to health.

MSF doctor Beatriz Valle tends to a young patient in ICU [Sacha Myers/MSF] 

Intensive care unit only one of its kind in Mosul

"When we opened the ER, this motivated the hospital staff to do further cleaning and repairs. It encouraged the staff and patients and gave them hope," Papachrysostomou said.

"The intensive care unit is the only one of its kind in Mosul," he added. "It's only a small unit with four beds, but it's the only chance a severely unwell patient has to survive. If it didn't exist, patients with severe health issues would die."

The project was handed over to the Iraqi Department of Health in November. 

Although life is returning to eastern Mosul and other retaken cities, unemployment is high and most children have missed years of school. 

In west Mosul, the healthcare system remains in a dire situation. Most hospitals and clinics were bombed and there is still a severe lack of services, equipment, medical staff and medication.

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