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Red Cross Red Crescent earthquake emergency services treat 1,000 patients
06 January 2004

Geneva: Over 1,000 patients have so far been treated by the emergency medical services established in Bam at the weekend by the Red Cross and Red Crescent and which include a 200-bed referral hospital which is replacing the facilities destroyed in the earthquake.

“We are still very much in the emergency phase. There is growing demand and we need to hire more local staff to cope. We are seeing more and more earthquake-related injuries,” said Dr. Paul Odberg, the Norwegian Red Cross medical director of the ECHO-funded hospital.

The Out Patients Department at the hospital had its busiest day so far on January 5 when 280 patients were seen and there are 24 in-patients, a number that is expected to grow as other temporary facilities close down and serious cases are transferred to the Red Cross Red Crescent hospital. German and Japanese Red Cross satellite clinics are also operating in Bam.

A Finnish Red Cross nurse, Rea Noponen, confirmed that the hospital is now ready to deliver its first baby as the maternity ward and delivery room have been put in place.

Water supply to the hospital and clinics is being secured by teams of water and sanitation engineers from the Austrian, French, Spanish and Swedish Red Cross. "We now have 200,000 litres of water in storage which is adequate for the needs of the hospital," said Werner Meisinger, Austrian Red Cross team leader.

Iranian Red Crescent head of international department, Mostafa Mohaghegh, confirmed today that everything possible was being done to organize the medical evacuation to Tehran of a young child admitted to the hospital today and diagnosed with leukaemia.

"This is a very tragic case. The child was diagnosed three months ago as having leukaemia and the family lost everything in the earthquake. Bam does not have adequate facilities to treat him so we are working on a medical evacuation to Tehran," said Mohaghegh.