16:55 GMT +321 January 2019
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    Civilians displaced by heavy fighting between Iraqi security forces and ISIS militants wait to be seen by a doctor in a tent set up by MSF, or Doctors Without Borders, to provide medical aid at a shelter in Makhmour, near Mosul, Iraq, March 28, 2016

    MSF Doing Everything to Ensure Mosul Unit Won't Be Threatened by Any Armed Actor

    © AP Photo / Alice Martins
    Middle East
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    On Tuesday, MSF opened a new surgical unit in East Mosul to provide free surgeries, post-operative care and rehabilitation to people injured in the military operation to retake the Iraqi city from Daesh* terrorist group. Heman Nagarathnam, the head of the MSF mission in Iraq, has discussed the issue with Sputnik.

    Sputnik: Are you concerned about the security of the facility being threatened by the the Islamic State*?

    Heman Nagarathnam: We doing everything we can to ensure that our facility is not being threatened by any group or armed actor. We have strict security protocols and we have processes in place to ensure the safety of our patients and staff.

    Sputnik: What aid are you expecting from the government or other international actors to ensure the security of the facility?

    Heman Nagarathnam: MSF is an independent organisation and our funding comes from private donors around the world. While we work with local authorities to run our projects, we do not take aid from the government or from international actors to fund or ensure the security of our projects. All security at the facility is funded and managed by MSF.

    Sputnik: How are the Iraqi authorities supporting the work of this center?

    Heman Nagarathnam: MSF has been working closely with the Ninewa Directorate of Health (DoH) and the Ministry of Health to launch the new post-operative care facility in East Mosul, and to provide support to the Al'Salaam and Al'Shifaa hospitals through the donation of medication and staff training.

    Now the post-operative care project is open, MSF will work with the DoH to refer patients from public hospitals in Mosul to MSF's facility for treatment. Al'Salaam Hospital, which is located in the same hospital complex as the post-operative care facility, will also refer patients directly to the facility.

    Sputnik: What number of patients do you expect at the facility, and are current resources sufficient to address this number of patients?

    Heman Nagarathnam: MSF's post-operative care project has a 30-bed in-patient department and three isolation rooms. We have a team of 30 highly qualified international and Iraqi medical experts, and support staff including cleaners, logisticians and administrators. We have enough staff and resources to run the facility at full capacity.

    More than half the hospitals in Mosul were destroyed in the recent conflict and there is a high need for healthcare services in the city. There are also many war-wounded who need secondary surgeries and rehabilitation to regain the use of their damaged limbs. We expect a high number of patients at the facility.

    Sputnik: What sum of private donations have you allocated to the maintenance of this facility and the provision of medical care?

    Heman Nagarathnam: The cost of maintaining and running the facility will be determined by the number of patients we receive and the level of care they require. We cannot answer this question as the facility has just opened.

    Sputnik: Does MSF have any plans to expand this existing facility in the near future or open a new one in the city of Mosul?

    Heman Nagarathnam: MSF is currently rehabilitating the emergency room at the relocated Al'Salaam Hospital. Additionally, MSF has plans to continue working in Mosul for some time due to the high need for healthcare services. We currently have a hospital in West Mosul — providing maternity and paediatric services — and we have now opened the post-operative care facility in East Mosul. We are doing assessments in other areas, such as mental health, and will look at opening new projects in Mosul in the future.

    Sputnik: Is there any lack of supplies of medicine at the facility, and if so, of what medicine specifically?

    Heman Nagarathnam: MSF has all the resources needed to run the post-operative care facility in Mosul.

    Sputnik: Today has the running of the center gone according to expectations and how many patients have you received?

    Heman Nagarathnam: The opening of the post-operative care facility in Mosul today went as planned and everything is running smoothly. It will now take a few days for patients to be assessed and referred from the public hospitals in Mosul.

    Daesh* had been operating in Iraq since 2014. In late 2017, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi announced the defeat of the Daesh in his country after several years of hostilities, including operations to liberate the city of Mosul, the terrorists' former key stronghold in Iraq and the country's second biggest city. Mosul was under Daesh control for about three years.

    *Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist group banned in Russia


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