Hijack of an MSF rented vehicle in Somalia ends in a tragic death

In 2008 alone, MSF teams provided 727,428 out-patient consultations, including 267,168 for children under five. Over 55,000 women received antenatal care consultations and more than 24,000 people were admitted as inpatients to MSF supported hospitals and health clinics. There were 3,878 surgeries, 1,249 of which were injuries due to violence. Medical teams treated 1,036 people suffering from the deadly, neglected disease kala azar, more than 4,000 for malaria and started 1,556 people on tuberculosis treatment. Nearly 35,000 people suffering from malnutrition were provided with food and medical care and 82,174 vaccinations were given. In the early evening of Wednesday, June 24, a private vehicle, rented by MSF, was attacked in North Galcayo, Somalia, as it returned from referring a patient from one MSF facility in the south of the city to another in the north. During the incident, the female caretaker, accompanying the patient, was shot and killed and the driver injured. The third passenger, an MSF staff member was unhurt. The driver has since received treatment and is in a good condition. The car was taken by the attackers. The attack is not considered to have been directed against MSF. However, it demonstrates an unacceptable level of violence, which puts at risk MSF’s ability to provide health care for hundreds of thousands of Somalis throughout the country. MSF began work in Somalia in 1991. Since January 2008, MSF’s projects throughout South and Central Somalia continue to be run thanks to the commitment, hard work and courage of our dedicated Somali staff, supported by a team based in Nairobi who visits whenever security allows. MSF calls on all combatants to respect medical structures and activities in order that people, irrespective of their political, religious or military affiliation, can access much needed health care.