November 21, 2013

In Tacloban, the Philippines city hardest hit by Typhoon Haiyan, a team from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is putting the finishing touches on an inflatable hospital.The hospital will contain an emergency room, a wound care room, a pharmacy and up to 45 hospital beds. Additional care will be provided at nearby Bethany hospital, once repairs have been completed. The surgical, maternity, and neonatal wards were all damaged in the typhoon.“Alongside Filipino and international volunteers, we worked hard all night, in the pouring rain, so that the hospital would be in place this morning,” said Yann Libessart of MSF’s emergency team in Tacloban.“Getting the site ready and installing the hospital was a major logistical challenge.”The MSF medical team based at the inflatable hospital will support the few hospitals in Tacloban that are still functioning. MSF will take over from the first rescue teams to arrive on the scene, including soldiers, who are now starting to leave the city.“The first phase of the emergency is now over,” said Laurent Sury, MSF emergency coordinator, “and we expect mainly to be treating patients with common diseases or conditions related to poor access to healthcare, such as women with complicated deliveries and people with chronic illnesses.“Our goal is to support the health system in the region for the time it takes to return to normality."The MSF inflatable hospital helps emergency teams respond quickly to natural disasters, enabling them to provide people with quality healthcare while damaged health facilities are being reconstructed or repaired.The inflatable hospital was used following the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan and the earthquake in Haiti in 2010.MSF has 192 international staff in the Philippines, providing healthcare and humanitarian aid on the islands of Leyte, Samar and Panay, the three islands hardest hit by the typhoon.

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