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Tibebe Giyon Specialized Hospital has stopped providing services

Disclaimer: This is a translation from BBC Amharic News. The translation is intended solely for information purposes.

BBC Amharic - Tibebe Giyon Specialized Hospital (Bahir Dar University) has stopped providing services

Friday, October 13, 2023 (Tikimit 2, 2016 EC)

The Tibebe Giyon Specialized Hospital which is under the Medical and Health Sciences College of Bahir Dar University has suspended all services as a result of ongoing conflict in the region.

BBC spoke to hospital workers and university officials which said the hospital is currently not offering regular services.

One medical professional working in the hospital who preferred to remain anonymous said the hospital stopped operations as of the morning of October 11, 2023 (Meskerem 30, 2016 EC).

BBC spoke to Bahir Dar University President Dr. Firew Tegegne who said the hospital is no longer accepting patients. He added he was unable to provide additional information since he is at a meeting.

The president offered the following brief remarks to BBC, "we are currently in a situation where we can no longer accept patients. Our workers inside are preparing food and providing care inside as well. This is what I can confirm in my official capacity from a distance."

BBC spoke to a medical professional in the hospital who explained why the hospital stopped providing services, "when members of the national army were operating in the area, gunfire was opened on them (though it is unclear where the gunfire came from) and those who returned gunfire entered the hospital. They seemed to enter the hospital because they believed the gunfire came from the direction of the hospital. Then they shelled the building itself. When the hospital workers observed the situation they began to leave out of fear."

They added that members of the national army, "entered the hospital with injuries and dragged out patients who they accused of being Fano which the professionals witnessed and the security situation which was not conducive to working caused them to leave. For this reason the hospital stopped working."

Although members of the army had shelled the building they did not open fire. For this reason the hospital did not sustain damages.

A lecturer in Bahir Dar University who preferred to remain anonymous verified the hospital shutdown saying "when fighting took place near the hospital the doctors could not treat patients."

He mentioned that fighting which had taken place between the Fano militants and ENDF was in close proximity to the hospital. "There was fighting however it did not reach the hospital". There was also fighting in Tis Abay. The fighting has also spread to Sebatamit.

The hospital was located in the southward direction of the fighting which took place on the northern direction. They added that the soldiers began shooting individuals who were admitted to the hospital for various reasons. The medical professional said, "they seized [hospital] professionals who they accused of being Fano. One medical professional was shot and is now receiving medical care."

Our sources said the area is now surrounded by the army and people are leaving the area "fearing for their lives."

The health professionals who worked in the hospital said before the army entered Tibebe Giyon Specialized Hospital they had targeted civilians. "In addition to some who were killed and injured, others were taken away. There were also people who were raped. There were six people receiving medical care in the hospital."

BBC's efforts to obtain information on the matter from the regional health bureau and the emergency command post in the area were unsuccessful.

Tibebe Giyon Specialized Hospital is located 7-km from the regional capital of Bahir Dar city in the direction of Addis Ababa city in a place called Sebatamit. The area is also part of the Bahir Dar city administration.

Up until yesterday on Thursday, October 12, 2023 (Tikimit 1, 2016 EC) fighting had continued in Sebatamit and our sources reported gunfire exchange but the situation had calmed down as of Friday morning.

The day before yesterday on Wednesday, October 11, 2023 (Meskerem 30, 2016 EC) some patients left the hospital out of fear. Others had stayed behind in the hospital.

Medical professionals who remained in the hospital "are going in and out providing medical care. Others [medical professionals] who travel to Bahir Dar to provide care have not been able to do so since the roads are closed. New patients have been unable to enter."

The medical professional and professor which the BBC spoke to said the shutdown of hospital services would gravely endanger thousands of people who rely on these medical services.

The medical professional explained that this specialized hospital was constructed to provide a better standard of care in northern Ethiopia but now that services are not being provided, patients from five zones who come for referrals will be exposed to great danger.

The Bahir Dar University professor said since the hospital stopped providing services, medical students have also been forced to stop their studies.

They also raised that the Tibebe Giyon Specialized Hospital had its own oxygen supply, it had been supplying Finote Selam, Injibara and Debre Markos Hospitals which are now at risk of facing an oxygen supply issue.

Since the end of last month (August 2023) fighting between Fano militants and government forces in Amhara Region prompted declaration of a state of emergency in the region.

Reports indicate fighting has continued in various parts of the region, as a result regular activities and movement have been disrupted and health and other services have been under pressure.


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