Statement: EMERGENCY Responds to Outbreak at the Anabah Maternity Centre, Afghanistan

On 4 November 2018 in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of EMERGENCY’s Maternity Hospital in Panjshir, Anabah, an outbreak of an unknown and as yet not determined origin was registered.

Twelve newborns, who were already in a critical condition and on antibiotic therapy, passed away due to what presented itself as sepsis.

EMERGENCY immediately informed the health authorities regarding the ongoing outbreak and involved an external private laboratory in Kabul to carry out microbiological tests. EMERGENCY will communicate the results as soon as they are available.

Until the causes are fully clarified, the criteria for admission in the Maternity Centre have been reduced solely to life saving treatments.

EMERGENCY’s staff have immediately applied measures to contain the outbreak and treat the affected patients, and we can exclude any medical negligence in what has happened.

These are the measures that have immediately been adopted in the hospital to prevent the spread of the outbreak:

– All staff movements were restricted to avoid any possible spread of contamination;

– No new admissions were allowed in the NICU;

– Cardiopulmonary resuscitation and sepsis treatment protocol began for all neonates;

– As further deliveries were ongoing in the Maternity Centre, a new ward was set up for treatment of neonates, with reinforced hygienic measures;

– All cleaning and hygienic protocols were reinforced across the entire hospital;

EMERGENCY can testify that every medical professional, both local and international, did all they could do to the best of their capabilities to save each and every life in the hospital.

The medical coordinator of the Maternity Centre is in constant contact with Panjshir Provincial Health Directory, Anabah District Office and Anabah NDS office, and willing to collaborate with all authorities, as we have done since 2003 when the centre was opened.

Over these years, the Maternity Centre – that offers gynaecological, obstetric and neonatal assistance to the population of the Panjshir Valley, and the provinces of Parwan, Kapisa and Kabul – has provided treatment and healthcare to over 300,000 mothers and newborns.

In the first nine months of 2018, 6,535 babies were treated in the centre, 6,368 born in the centre and 145 outborn babies, with half the mortality rate of the rate registered across the country. This proves the high quality of the treatment provided and the full dedication of all staff working in the centre.

EMERGENCY is close to the families and their communities in this moment for their painful losses and confirms its commitment to clarify as soon as possible the causes of these deaths.

Emergency UK

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