Lashkar-Gah Surgical Centre
Specialist Trauma Care in Helmand Province.
EMERGENCY opened the Surgical Centre for War Victims in Lashkar-Gah in 2004. The hospital is the only free specialist trauma facility in Helmand province, in the south of the country.
Helmand has been one of Afghanistan’s most volatile regions over the previous two decades of fighting, with large numbers of casualties: between 2004 and 2021, tens of thousands of war-wounded were treated at this hospital.
Uninterrupted Healthcare Support
The hospital has been open and fully operational throughout the numerous phases of the conflict since it opened in 2004. The Lashkar-Gah Surgical Centre treated patients during the extremely volatile summer of 2021, culminating with the collapse of the Afghan government in August of that year.
The Lashkar-Gah Surgical Centre remains open and committed to continuing operations uninterrupted.
🔴 Fighting continues in #Lashkargah #Helmand. Update from our hospital: 23 more patients arrived in need of urgent treatment and underwent major surgery. Another 5 were already dead on arrival, 28 with less severe injuries referred to other facilities. #Afghanistan
— EMERGENCY NGO (@emergency_ngo) August 2, 2021
Today, with the worsening economic and humanitarian crisis, our hospital is working to respond to the new health needs that are emerging and that show great difficulty in accessing care due to the conditions faced by the population. Among these new urgent needs is civilian trauma.
For a more detailed look on healthcare needs in Helmand and across Afghanistan, read EMERGENCY’s 2023 report, “Access to Care in Afghanistan: Perspectives from Afghan People in 10 Provinces.”
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As with many EMERGENCY facilities, the Lashkar-Gah Surgical Centre is recognised as a training facility for emergency surgery and traumatology. A core component of EMERGENCY’s work – in all its hospitals and medical facilities – is close partnership with, and training of, local medical professionals and ancillary staff.
We welcome Afghan men and women as students in our residency training, strengthening the sustainability of the country’s economy and health system.
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First Aid Posts and Primary Healthcare Centres
In order to provide healthcare to those in need beyond urban centres, EMERGENCY established First Aid Posts and Primary Healthcare Centres in the often remote districts neighbouring Lashkar-Gah. In these facilities, our local medics provide crucial care to patients. When necessary, patients are stabilised and then transferred to EMERGENCY’s hospital facilities by our ambulance service, which operates 24/7.
In May 2021, the conflict intensified in all provinces of the country following the announcement of the withdrawal of international troops. The fighting became even more intense in Lashkar-Gah, forcing us to restrict admission criteria to only the most seriously wounded, who needed urgent, life-saving treatment.
As part of the population left the city for fear of getting caught up in the fighting, the Taliban offensive began in early August for control of the government compound in Lashkar-Gah, which was taken after a few days.
The fighting also came close to our hospital: to ask all parties to respect the facility and ensure that it was not endangered, we distributed a flyer with the hospital’s coordinates on the streets of the city and through social media.
Even during the hottest days of the offensive, the nonstop work of our Afghan and international staff allowed us to continue treating the wounded without interruption.
In total, we provided more than 7,300 surgeries and more than 25,000 visits in Lashkar-Gah in 2021.
EMERGENCY’s Surgical Centre in Lashkar-Gah is funded by the European Union
Location: Lashkar-Gah (Helmand)
Start of clinical activities: September 2004
Activities: Surgery for war victims
Facilities: Accident and emergency, 2 operating theatres, sterilisation, intensive care, wards, physiotherapy, radiology, laboratory and blood bank, pharmacy, classrooms, play room, technical and support services
Outpatient consultations: 259,513
Surgical operations: 83,259
(Data correct as of December 2022)
The Lashkar-Gah Surgical Centre features in the Vice News documentary ‘What We’re Leaving Behind’