#MosulOps: Trauma centres 'dramatically upgraded' to accommodate 40,000 patients

#MosulOps: Trauma centres 'dramatically upgraded' to accommodate 40,000 patients
At the Battle for Mosul intensifies, the World Health Organisation has set up two trauma centres to receive civilians injured by crossfire or targeted by IS militants
3 min read
25 November, 2016
More than 1,200 civilians have been injured in the conflict so far [Getty]
Trauma centres have been set up in Mosul as an estimated 40,000 civilians are expected to need treatment for war injuries, the World Health Organisation has said.

With hospitals near the front line either out of service or inaccessible, patients are dying due to the lack of immediate care or long transfer times, WHO said.

The organisation is working with Iraqi health authorities in Nineveh Governate to ensure life-saving care is available near to the city as tens of thousands of people flee the battle against Islamic State militants.

"As fighting increases inside the city, we are expecting much greater numbers of injured civilians," said Altaf Musani, WHO's representative in Iraq.

"Because we have no clear idea about the condition of the hospitals inside the city, we are working with national health authorities to significantly scale up response capacity near the front lines, moving closer to the city as access allows."

The WHO's intervention comes as the UN warns civilian casualties are "overwhelming" aid groups.

Bullet wounds

Since Iraqi forces converged on IS-held Mosul on October 17, more than 1,200 people, including women, children and babies as young as 2 months old, have been treated for trauma injuries including bullet wounds, mine and shell injuries and mortar injuries.

The actual number of injured people is expected to be much higher, WHO said, as many are currently unable to access treatment due to the insecurity.

The two new "stabilisation centres" set up in eastern Mosul, less than 25km from the city, could give patients an increased chance of survival as they are transported to hospital.

Doctors there will perform screening and triage, stop the bleeding, provide IV fluids and oxygen and provide medications. Services for complicated births will be supported by the UN's Population Fund (UNFPA).

Two leading international war surgeons have also been recruited by WHO to work with more than 75 general surgeons and junior medical doctors from Nineveh and Erbil to train them in performing war-related surgeries.

Earlier this week, WHO delivered 10 new ambulances and 4 new mobile medical clinics to Nineveh health authorities, bringing the total number of WHO-supported ambulances for Mosul to 30 and 23 respectively.

Hospitals in Erbil and Nineveh are also being prepared to receive trauma patients by receiving trauma and surgical kits from WHO. So far supplies for 600 patients have been sent, with enough kits for 4,000 on their way.


The WHO's intervention comes as the UN warns civilian casualties are "overwhelming" aid groups.

"Authorities are doing everything they can to help but there isn't sufficient trauma capacity at the field level to deal with the numbers of people being wounded by sharp-shooters and snipers and in crossfire. Civilians are being targeted by [IS]," the UN's Lise Grande said on Saturday.

"We are very worried that more and more civilians will be hurt and victimised as the campaign intensifies," she added.