As forces loyal to the Libya unity government and fighters from other parts of Libya continue their offensive against the so-called Islamic State in Sirte, one major healthcare facility is feeling the pinch of the battle.
The Misrata central hospital, located some 200km away from Sirte, serves as the nearest point of call for Libyan fighters engaged in the battle against IS. This is also because the hospital sits at a strategic point between Sirte and Tripoli.
But the 120-bed capacity hospital appears to dealing with its own problems, chief among them being inadequate staff to attend to patients and inadequate equipment.
A spokesperson for the hospital, Dr. Akram Gliwan told the AFP news agency that their work is intrinsically linked to the success or otherwise of the battle against IS.
“The situation on the ground and on the front lines depends entirely on the situation inside the central hospital in Misrata” he said.
Thus the pace of the battle is dependent on how quickly the hospital can attend to the injured fighters so they can go back to the front lines. This is however proving somewhat difficult “because of the pressure on medical staff and the fact that the hospital has limited capacity” Dr. Gliwan explained.
He indicated that the hospital which serves a population of about half a million people including those fighting on the front line, has been under maintenance since 2007 leaving little room for work to be done at a faster pace.
“The operating room is always full” Dr. Gliwan said adding that due to the limited capacity they are forced to attend to patients right at the reception area due to “limited capacity”.
Many of the foreign doctors from India, the Philippines and other eastern European countries who ere working in the country have left as a result of the conflict.
The so-called Islamic State took advantage of the chaos created in the aftermath of the ouster of Libya’s former leader Muammar Gaddafi to set up base in the important port city of Sirte.
But Libyan fighters have for some three months now been fighting the group and they have succeeded in reclaiming parts of the city previously held by the terror group.