W e are writing in reference to the article written by Huw Watkin published in
your Feb 23-Mar 7 issue entitled "Army doctor: We never have enough blood."
It is wrong to say that Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) is one of the few NGOs to
help Cambodia's military. In Battambang, MSF provides technical assistance to the
civilian provincial hospital and not to the military hospital. Since September 1994
MSF has been training civilian surgeons and has never targeted its project to military
surgeons. It is true however that the civilian hospital of Battambang is overcrowded
with war-wounded patients. Over the last four weeks soldiers represent about 44 per
cent of surgical admissions (101 admissions out of a total of 232). The provincial
hospital provides the same level of care to all the patients admitted, whether they
are civilians or soldiers. It is the Director of the provincial hospital and not
MSF who negotiates directly with the military authorities in order to solve all the
problems (blood needs, criteria for referring patients and security, within the hospital.
- Dr Pascal Crepin, Head of Mission, MSF (France)
- Dr Yves Coyette, Coordinator, Battambang.