Depleted Mogadishu hospitals struggle to treat Somali war wounded
12 October 2010 ¦ Nairobi - Children of Mogadishu are suffering from the Somali capital's recent increased violence, accounting for one-fifth of all weapons-related casualties. The high number of young casualties, coupled with a limited number of skilled surgeons and continuing demands for routine surgical care, requires an urgent upgrade of health facilities in the city.
Twenty years of civil war has devastated Somalia, hampering its health services and increasing health risks. Since January 2010, at least 5000 people have been wounded (20% being children) and 100 more killed in Mogadishu alone, according to reports from three hospitals. However, WHO estimates that over 500 people have been killed since the beginning of 2010, although deaths on site are not reported.
The World Health Organization is supporting two hospitals and seven health facilities in Mogadishu to re-equip their operating theatres, provide essential medicines and supplies, train staff and install the computer and information technology needed to manage operations. A project has been finalized that requires US$1.94 million in funding to ensure these health facilities can continue to provide life-saving services.
"Service delivery is hampered by very weak public health system, infrastructure and an insufficient number of health facilities and lack of skilled health workers" says Marthe Everard, WHO's representative to Somalia. "In addition, regular health care services are more imbalanced due to frequent incidences of armed fighting. With these additional funds, WHO Somalia helps ensuring that victims of this conflict can be treated properly in health facilities in Mogadishu."
Currently, Somalia only has around 250 qualified doctors, 860 nurses and just 116 midwives. This comes to 0.11 health workers per 1000 people. Very limited numbers of skilled health workers limit the ability to treat the wounded. Somali health facilities routinely lack basic and essential medicines, medical supplies and equipment.
Another threat is diarrhoeal disease. Somalia suffers from seasonal cholera outbreaks. WHO will be working with health partners to undertake preparedness activities for the coming October outbreak period, especially for acute watery diarrhea. In March, two cholera outbreaks have been confirmed in Mogadishu (3001 cases and 79 deaths reported) and the Lower Shabelle region's Merka district (725 cases and eight deaths). Among these were 2965 children aged under five years, 73 of whom have died.
WHO Somalia, Nairobi-Kenya
Tel: +254 20 7623197
Mob: +254 735 978451
WHO Somalia Nairobi, Kenya
Mobile: +254 733 410 984