Kabul Surgical Centre
EMERGENCY’s Surgical Centre is the only free, specialist war surgery hospital in the Afghan capital.
EMERGENCY has been working in Afghanistan since 1999, when the organisation began renovating and expanding a former nursery school in the centre of the capital city, Kabul. The nursery had been destroyed by a rocket, in an incident which killed five children. In April 2001, this structure re-opened as a Surgical Centre for Victims of War and Landmines, and was expanded in 2015 to improve the facilities and increase the number of beds. It is one of the most important hospitals in Afghanistan.
The centre houses an impressive number of facilities, including three operating theatres; an intensive care unit; an A&E; outpatient clinics; a laboratory and blood bank; a radiology department; and equipment for physiotherapy and CT scans. The centre also specialises in trauma surgery. Since July 2010, however, the admissions criteria have been restricted to war surgery only, in order to cope with the influx of war-related admissions.
Although the NATO ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) mission officially ceased in December of 2014, intense fighting continues across the country. Conflict is becoming increasingly urbanised, and in recent years Kabul has become even more unstable. Suicide attacks and armed assaults are a regular occurrence. The hospital is connected to our network of First Aid Posts (FAPs) in neighbouring provinces, using a 24-hour ambulance service. In 2020, the Kabul Surgical Centre performed 1,996 surgeries on war-wounded people.
The New Facility
Driven by the consistent rise in patient numbers, in 2015 we expanded the facility in Kabul: building a new operating block with 3 surgical theatres; reorganising the intensive care and step-down units; and increasing the number of inpatient beds to 120. Even while the renovation work was in progress, the hospital continued to ensure treatment for the wounded, seeing a total of 12,057 patients over the course of the year. The renovation was completed in 2016. In 2019 alone, there were more than 3,700 admissions to the hospital, and a third of them were children. As of June 2020, the Surgical Centre has admitted 57,819 patients, carried out 139,952 outpatient consultations, and performed 78,769 operations since opening in 2001.
The Kabul Surgical Centre operates in line with EMERGENCY’s ethos of working to provide sustainable healthcare through the training of local staff, who can subsequently operate autonomously upon EMERGENCY’s departure. The Kabul hospital is officially recognised by the Afghan Ministry of Health as a centre for specialist training in emergency surgery and traumatology.
Additionally, over the past year we designed and ran courses for doctors and nurses from public hospitals on dealing with trauma and mass casualties. At the request of the World Health Organisation, and in collaboration with the Afghan Ministry of Health, we trained 250 people, helping to strengthen the national healthcare system’s emergency response capacity.
The Kabul Surgical Centre employs over 352 local staff and medical professionals.
Start of clinical activities: April 2001
Activities: Surgery for war victims.
Facilities: Accident and emergency, clinics, 3 operating theatres, sterilisation, intensive care, sub-intensive care, wards, physiotherapy, CT (computed tomography), radiology, laboratory and blood bank, pharmacy, classrooms, play room, technical and support services.
Outpatients consultations: 155,160
Surgical operations: 84,179
(Data correct as of June 2021)