Saving lives, one ambulance at a time

Ambulance benghazi 1Ibrahim Al-Sherkasi driving one of several ambulances provided to Benghazi through the SFL. Photo: ©UNDP/Nada Elfeituri.

Ibrahim Al-Sherkasi has been an ambulance driver at the Benghazi Psychiatric Hospital for over 13 years. During his day, Ibrahim is on call to drive patients to emergency rooms in Benghazi’s hospitals when any health incident occurred. “The last case I was called for was a few days ago, one patient injured himself and another patient with a knife, both were bleeding badly. Since the hospital doesn’t have many resources, we have to transport them to other health facility such as the Jalaa hospital or the Benghazi Medical Center.”

During the conflict that raged Benghazi for three years, the health sector was hit hard. Added to the fighting which increased the number of medical cases, is the fact that because the sea port, airport and road blockages were closed causing the centers to suffer shortages in resources. Hospitals and clinics were struggling to cope with the increase in cases and decrease in supplies. “I would estimate that the number of cases we received went up by 70% or more,” said a medical lab employee of the Al-Jalaa hospital, the biggest trauma hospital in Benghazi. “We would mostly see cases of people injured from missiles and bullets, and most recently we’re receiving more cases of those injured by mines.”

Highlights

  • During the conflict that raged Benghazi for three years, the health sector was hit hard. Added to the fighting which increased the number of medical cases, is the fact that because the sea port, airport and road blockages were closed causing the centers to suffer shortages in resources.
  • The Stabilization Facility for Libya provided support to the health sector in Benghazi. Key health centers and public institutions, such as the Psychiatric Hospital, Al-Jalaa Hospital, the Kidney Center, the Civic Defense Unit and the Benghazi Medical Center received fully-equipped ambulances.
ambulance benghazi 2A doctor checking supplies in one of the ambulances provided by SFL. Photo: ©UNDP/Nada Elfeituri.

The Stabilization Facility for Libya provided support to the health sector in Benghazi. One of the main needs identified was ambulances for emergency response. Key health centers and public institutions, such as the Psychiatric Hospital, Al-Jalaa Hospital, the Kidney Center, the Civic Defense Unit and the Benghazi Medical Center received fully-equipped ambulances. In total, eight ambulances, five of them intensive care ambulances, are now fully operational in Benghazi.

“This ambulance came at the right time for us,” said Ibrahim, who now drives one of these ambulances. “Our other ambulances are old and constantly need maintenance, but these ones are well equipped. When I was driving the two injured patients the other day, we were able to use the first aid kit to stop the bleeding until we arrived at the emergency room.”

“Having a reliable ambulance to reach people who have been injured in a missile strike is vital,” added the employee of Jalaa hospital. “The intensive care ambulances are equipped so that the patient is kept alive until they reach the hospital. Many lives have been saved because of this and we will be able to save many more.” 

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