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27 Nov 2017

MSF - Handing Over its Project in al-Khansa Hospital - East Mosul

  • Monday, 27 November 2017

When the children got fevers we tried to cool them down with wet towels and mostly we stayed at home

Amran was the first patient admitted to the intensive care unit in MSF´s Al Khansaa hospital, in east Mosul. He was born in another hospital in Mosul and started experiencing respiratory complications. When the family arrived to Al Khansaa, they were admitted in the emergency room. Amran was diagnosed with a severe congenital malformation. His trachea and oesophagus were joined, which meant when he was fed, liquid entered his respiratory system. He needed surgical treatment. His father, Raad, tells his son´s story.

My name is Raad and I’m 28 years old. My wife Fatima is 25. Amran is 17 days old. He’s our third child. We also have a four-year-old and a two-year-old.

Before [the arrival of the Islamic State], life was good. We had our first baby. I worked as a builder. When IS was here, we suffered a lot and had many difficulties. We didn't work and we didn't have money. Today, I have a debt of 3 million Iraqi Dinars (2,175 Euros). Every day was worse than the next. We didn’t work, we just sat around the house all day. We couldn't work because there were no jobs. The only jobs available involved working for them (IS). 

There wasn’t any healthcare. Things were bad and the children got sick and there wasn’t any treatment. We were referred to private clinics but with no work, we couldn’t afford it. The hospitals were open but there were no drugs. When the children got sick with fevers we tried to cool them down with wet towels and mostly we stayed at home.

We had to buy diapers for 30,000 Iraqi Dinar (21 Euros) and milk for 36,000 Iraqi Dinars (26 Euros).

When the army came to our area, IS attacked them and re-took our area. Then the army came near our house and we ran. We used to live in the west side of Mosul and we lost our house. I feel sad about the house but the main thing is that my wife and the children are safe.

Everything now is better than during IS. We are safe now. But we still face some difficulties. There are few jobs. Before IS there were lots of jobs and now there are just few. 

When we don’t work, life stops. For a single person it’s OK, but not for a married person. 

The problem now is to find a place to live. We don't have our own house so sometimes we stay with my family and sometimes with my wife’s family. It's very difficult.

Besides not having a house we have to borrow money for [medical] treatment and for daily life. It's hard to start from nothing but step by step we'll get there. 

We went to the hospital for tests and we didn’t know my wife was about to deliver. So, they took her in for surgery. [When the baby was born], we saw the doctors talking and they said they needed to keep the baby. Then they started giving the baby oxygen. 

We were in another hospital and they didn't have a ventilator. I checked all the hospitals, even the private ones, but they didn't have any [ventilators]. 

At the beginning the doctors said you'll just have to watch your baby die. But I kept asking when the intensive care unit (ICU) would open and I gave him oxygen by bag. He almost died six times a day.

But then the ICU opened - thanks to God and the MSF team. They inserted a tube into his lungs. They repaired the opening to his esophagus.

Update: Tragically, baby Amran died on 4 November 2017. The operation to repair Amran’s trachea and oesophagus was unsuccessful.


- Some photos of the hospital can be seen on this link

A video showing how much destroyed are the Health facilities in the city with a soundbites of one of the doctors and the Head of Mission on this link


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