High numbers of wounded children in Somalia's latest outbreak of violence
Children under five years old account for almost half those wounded.
31 May 2011 ¦ Nairobi – The World Health Organization (WHO) is concerned about the steep rise in the numbers of children under five years old who have been wounded in Somalia's latest outbreak of violence. The number of patients treated for weapon-related injuries at Mogadishu's three main hospitals reached a new peak in May 2011. Almost half the 1590 injuries reported were in children under five, compared to only 3.5% in April. "Many of these children are suffering from very severe wounds, burns and other injuries from bullets, blast injuries and shrapnel” says Marthe Everard, WHO’s representative for Somalia.
Fighting in Mogadishu has been escalating since March, especially in the densely-populated areas around Bakara market, where many internally displaced persons (IDPs) have taken refuge. Since the beginning of this year, more than 3900 people injured in the conflict have been admitted to hospitals in Mogadishu. The civilian population is especially vulnerable because much of the fighting takes place in the streets of the city.
Twenty years of civil war have devastated Somalia's health services. "The delivery of health care is hampered by accessibility issues, poor infrastructure and an insufficient number of health facilities," says Dr Everard. "Wherever health facilities are operating, they often lack basic and essential medicines, supplies and equipment, as well as operational and logistical support."
To help national staff cope with the sudden increase in the numbers of wounded children, WHO has trained 50 doctors and nurses from Mogadishu’s two main hospitals (Banadir and Keysaney) on the treatment of burns and chest injuries in children. WHO has donated a trauma kit to Banadir hospital (one kit contains enough supplies to treat 100 severely wounded people) and two operating theatre kits.
The Health Cluster in Somalia has received only 16% of the funds needed in 2011 (US$ 9.4 million received out of the US$ 58.8 million requested).
For more information:
WHO Somalia Nairobi, Kenya
Mobile: +254 733 410 984