Anabah Surgical and Paediatric Centre
EMERGENCY’s first medical facility in Afghanistan was in Anabah.
Over the past forty years Afghanistan has been ravaged by conflict, causing high numbers of civilian casualties; many of whom are killed or injured by explosive devices and landmines. Despite increasing clearance activities, Afghanistan remains one of the world’s most heavily land-mined nations. Many of the southern and central provinces experience fighting and violence on a daily basis. The resulting instability has forced many to abandon their livelihoods and flee, in search of safety.
Recent estimates indicate that over 9 million people in the country have limited or no access to healthcare services. The services that do exist are often inadequately equipped to meet the needs of the population. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) there are only two doctors; five nurses and midwives; and less than one pharmacist per 10,000 inhabitants.
Increasing levels of violence against medical facilities is also a major concern. In 2016 alone, 119 such incidents were recorded. These attacks have long-term repercussions which extend far beyond their immediate aftermath. Attacks on medical facilities affect not only medical personnel and infrastructure, but also those people who are reliant upon them for essential healthcare. It is within this context that EMERGENCY operates various services throughout the country.
The Surgical and Paediatric Centre
EMERGENCY’s Anabah Surgical and Paediatric Centre, in the mountainous Panjshir region, was the first EMERGENCY facility established in Afghanistan. In 1999 we converted a former barracks into a surgical center for war victims. In order to meet the needs of the local population, the center progressively expanded its activities and admissions criteria to include emergency surgery, general surgery, trauma care, internal medicine, and pediatrics. It is the only hospital in a vast area with a population of approximately 250,000 people. In 2015 alone, our doctors and nurses treated 39,000 people. Each and every month throughout 2016, our staff performed over 1,300 surgical procedures (43 per day) and over 650 medical consultations (20 per day). Of these, 7% of consultations and 22% of operations were a direct result of war-related injuries. An average of 130 patients per day were seen throughout 2017. In 2019, we performed an average of 260 surgical operations a month. As of June 2020, the Surgical and Paediatric Centre has carried out 502,890 outpatient consultations and has performed 36,890 surgical procedures.
An ambulance service connects the Surgical and Paediatric Centre in Anabah to a network of 18 First Aid Posts (FAPs) and Primary Health Clinics (PHCs), opened by EMERGENCY in the Panjshir Valley and in the neighboring provinces of Kapisa, Parwan, Badakhshan, and on the Salang Pass. The staff in our FAPs stabilize patients and, if required, arrange onward transportation to Anabah for further treatment. This wider network of services ensures access to first aid for those in more isolated regions; cut off for much of the year by snow and a lack of decent road infrastructure.
Following the success of our well-established gynecology and surgery specialization programs, a new agreement with the Afghan Ministry of Health allowed us to launch courses for pediatric specialization in our hospital in Anabah in June of 2014. Using classroom lessons and on-the-job training, the courses last three years, during which our international staff train local doctors. With around 2,200 paediatric check-ups performed every month in 2019 in our Outpatients Department, practical training is a fundamental part of the program.
Our hospital in Anabah is formally recognized by the Afghan Ministry of Health as a center of specialist training in general surgery, gynecology, obstetrics, and pediatrics. This reflects the tireless work of EMERGENCY surgeons and staff over the years to provide free health care to the population of the Panjshir Valley, and to train new medical professionals. In 2015, we trained 14 specializing surgeons, pediatricians, and gynecologists. In 2017, the following specialists worked at our Anabah hospital: nine surgeons (in rotation with the Kabul Surgical Centre), ten pediatricians, and four gynecologists. 10 students specializing in gynaecology and paediatrics worked with us at Anabah in 2019. The centre currently employs a total of 311 local staff members and medical professionals.
Location: Anabah, Panjshir Valley
Start of clinical activities: December 1999
Activities: Surgery for war victims, emergency surgery, general surgery, traumatology, internal medicine, paediatrics
Bed spaces: 78
Facilities: Accident and emergency, clinic, 2 operating theatres, sterilisation, intensive care, wards, physiotherapy, radiology, laboratory and blood bank, pharmacy, classrooms, playroom, technical and support services.
Local staff members: 378
Medical and surgical outpatient consultations: 329,774
Medical and surgical admissions: 43,554
Surgical operations: 38,372
Paediatric outpatient consulations: 191,884
Paediatric admissions: 14,520
(Data correct as of December 2020)