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For Immediate Release

Contact

Brienne Prusak: +1-212-763-5769

Press Release

Afghanistan: Pregnant Women and Babies Attacked in Kabul Hospital

WASHINGTON -

The international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is devastated after yesterday’s sickening attack on pregnant women, mothers, and their babies while seeking healthcare at our maternity ward in Dasht-e-Barchi hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan.

While these pregnant women and babies were in one of life’s most vulnerable states, an unknown number of assailants stormed the maternity hospital and unleashed a series of explosions and gunfire that lasted for hours.

MSF condemns this senseless act of cowardly violence, which cost the lives of many people and deprived women and children in Kabul of a fundamental health care service, in a context where access to essential care is already limited. The maternity hospital is located in an area of western Kabul with a population of more than 1.5 million people.

We mourn the loss of several patients, and we have indications that at least one colleague was also killed. For now, still with so much uncertainty, every effort is being made by our medical team to follow up on the new-borns in the maternity hospital to ensure the best possible care to our patients and to those injured, to provide psychological care to affected staff, and to provide every necessary support to those bereaved.

While fighting was on-going, one woman gave birth to her baby and both are doing well.

Our staff of midwives, doctors, cleaners, nurses, cooks, watchmen, and administrative staff provide invaluable services to women in need of maternal care, especially for those with complicated deliveries.

For the time being, medical activities in the maternity of Dasht-e-Barchi are suspended—but not closed—leaving people in the region with fewer options for maternity care for the time being. Patients were evacuated to surrounding hospitals and staff were brought to safety.

More than ever, MSF stands in solidarity with the Afghan people.

MSF opened the 55-bed maternity hospital in Dasht-e-Barchi Hospital in 2014. Since the beginning of the year, 5,401 babies have been delivered at the maternity hospital, and 524 babies were treated in the new-born unit and kangaroo mother-care unit for critical care.

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Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international medical humanitarian organization created by doctors and journalists in France in 1971. MSF's work is based on the humanitarian principles of medical ethics and impartiality. The organization is committed to bringing quality medical care to people caught in crisis regardless of race, religion, or political affiliation.
MSF operates independently of any political, military, or religious agendas.

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