It’s incredible to watch how fast MSF responds in these evolving situations – the boat went out on Monday – and on Tuesday was sent back to the hospital containing seven patients, mostly women and children with gunshot wounds. A further five arrived the next day. I don’t think I’ve ever looked after a braver patient than the trembling mite of a five-year-old girl with the bullet wound to her shoulder who sat still and tense, holding back sobs while I examined her.
Almost on a daily basis certain villages here come under attack from rockets and helicopters that drop drums full of explosives and metallic devices. The impact of these attacks is devastating for the local population—shrapnel wounds and crush wounds from collapsing houses. It’s a beautiful area and on bright days the clear blue sky gives a stunning view of the mountains. But the beauty is always short-lived, as a clear day means the helicopters are bound to come.
We have reached a point where we really need substantial commitments from local communities and authorities to ensure that the hospital and its immediate vicinity remain free of weapons.
Thomas Balivet, MSF head of mission, calls for support as heightened violence forces the closure of MSF hospital in Yemen.
MSF began working in Yemen 1986. In addition to working in the governorates of Aden, Ad-Dhali, and Abyan, MSF carries out surgical and medical activities in the governorates of Amran and Hajjah in the north of the country. MSF does not accept funding from any government for its work in Yemen; it relies solely on private donations.
If she passes the 18-20 month regimen and is cured of her disease, I wonder if she will remember her time here or will those surgical scars be the only shadows of her past.
We leave the hospital and I feel positive for Zulfia’s future.
Kartik Chandaria is a doctor writing from Tajikistan where he is working to treat children with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. This is Kartik’s second mission as an MSF doctor. His first was in Liberia in 2007.
*Names of patients have been changed to preserve anonymity
Then, injured people started coming from everywhere. We had to come up with other ways of accommodating people, even if it meant putting beds on the terrace. Sometimes the wounded didn’t arrive during the day because of fighting, because the roads were blocked, or because traveling to the hospital was risky. Sometimes they came at night or at dawn.