Years of fighting in Chechnya, in the Russian Federation, destroyed much of the region’s health infrastructure and left most of its hospitals unusable. Even now that the fighting has ended, more than half of the damaged hospitals have not been repaired, leaving around 40 per cent of the population without access to adequate healthcare. Communicable diseases are common across the region and there are acute shortages of trained health professionals, medical equipment and drugs.
The Sayasan Hospital in the remote mountainous region of Nozhay-Yurt has been in existence since 1927, providing medical care to 45,000 people. However the hospital was almost completely destroyed in the war, with little left of its roof, doors or windows. There was also no electricity, gas or water supply in the building.
No life-saving care
The destruction of Sayasan Hospital meant that many patients had to travel several hundreds of kilometres to the main hospital in Grozny, which was especially dangerous for those who needed urgent medical care. The lack of healthcare also meant that diseases were not diagnosed and people who required surgery were unable to access it.
With no suitable hospital or health clinics in the region, many thousands of people who had been forced from their homes during the conflict were put off returning to their villages.
Islamic Relief began reconstructing the hospital in July 2008 and it was finished one year later. The new hospital now has 12 functioning wards including a specialist tuberculosis wards, wards for infectious diseases, a maternal health department and new surgical wards. It provides quality medical services to 13 villages including many families who have recently returned home.
Before Islamic Relief began repairing the hospital, local residents ha d taken the initiative to start rebuilding part of the building. Pooling their few resources together they built a small clinic that was only able to offer basic first aid and could not meet the healthcare needs of the local population.
The local population worked closely with Islamic Relief throughout the construction of the hospital, and a group of women labourers even worked in the snow to repair the windows and doors.
The hospital is now fully functional with six doctors and 30 medical staff. The hospital has not only brought life-saving medical care to the people of Sayasan but the services it is providing is also encouraging more displaced families to return back to their villages and begin rebuilding their lives.