Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) continued to support communities in the Philippines affected by Typhoon Haiyan with response and recovery activities.
On Leyte island, local services are now capable of meeting medical needs and MSF therefore closed the 25-bed tented hospital in Tanauan in Palo district in March and the inflatable 60-bed hospital in the city of Tacloban in April. Overall these facilities had provided over 45,600 consultations and had facilitated 475 major and 5,400 minor surgical procedures.
A mental health programme that began immediately after the typhoon continued with individual and group sessions in Tacloban, and in schools in Palo and Tanauan, where teams helped identify children who were still suffering from trauma as a result of the typhoon. More than 7,400 patients took advantage of these services.
An MSF assessment showed, however, that gaps persisted between needs and available obstetric services in Palo. In May, MSF began supporting the maternity ward and surgical team at Leyte provincial hospital. The project focused on human resources support in surgery, maternity and neonatology, renovation of the wards, and ensuring an adequate supply of drugs and medical supplies. Teams also repaired the damaged sections of the hospital, installed new facilities and donated equipment.
MSF worked on rehabilitating Abuyog general hospital on Leyte, and two facilities in Eastern Samar province: Albino Duran memorial hospital in Balangiga and General MacArthur municipal hospital in General MacArthur. All renovation activities are expected to be completed in 2015.
In Guiuan, Samar island, where the typhoon had essentially destroyed Felipe Abrigo Memorial hospital, MSF continued to treat patients in a tent hospital until construction of a permanent hospital was completed in June. Around 80 consultations were carried out daily, mostly for respiratory tract infections and diseases such as dengue fever. The volume and nature of medical needs have returned to their pre-typhoon levels. MSF facilitated the movement of patients into the new structure and handed it over to the provincial health office. Hospital equipment and a six-month supply of drugs and medical supplies were donated to make sure there were adequate stocks. A small number of MSF staff stayed until the end of October to ensure that the hospital services were running smoothly before completing the handover.
The new hospital withstood the December 2014 typhoon Hagupit. It is made out of innovative durable and recyclable composite materials adapted to the hot, humid conditions in the Philippines.