Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières USA, a Global Impact charity partner, recently opened a new medical facility in Kunduz, Afghanistan. Like any medical facility in an urban area, the new 70-bed surgical hospital sees a lot of road accidents and civilian gunshot injuries. In addition, though the Afghan region is safer that it was in recent years, remnants of war—like stray bullets or rockets—continue to put people’s lives at risk.
One day, a family rushed in with their 14-year-old son. Ali [patient name has been changed to protect privacy] had been playing with friends in a field when they found something they said looked like a battery. It was probably a bomb detonator because it exploded when they touched the two wires that were sticking out of it. Ali had shrapnel in his face and serious injuries to his hands and arms. He was lucky and will fully recover from his injuries. His brother, however, was permanently blinded by the blast. Both boys could have suffered far worse had it not been for the Doctors Without Borders medical facility.
Prior to the arrival of Doctors Without Borders in August 2011, the 250,000 people living in Kunduz had no access to adequate trauma care. The Doctors Without Borders trauma center is equipped with an emergency room, two operating theaters, and an intensive care unit. A good hospital does not exist in this part of Afghanistan, so the Doctors Without Border facility is filling a very real need. The facility is much appreciated by the locals. Many patients used to go all the way to Pakistan to get specialized care.