Jowhar and Mahaday: Reaching out to rural areas

MSF began providing primary healthcare in the Jowhar and Mahaday districts of Middle Shabeelle region in November 1992.

Eight international staff and around 100 Somali staff run the project. An increasingly unstable context has forced MSF’s international team to evacuate several times. However, the programmes have continued without interruption, thanks to Somali staff members, most of whom have been with the project since it started.

Today, MSF continues to provide basic healthcare through a network of six health centres in the rural districts of Jowhar and Mahaday, including mother and child services, and epidemiological activities through three mobile teams.

In February 2007, MSF opened a maternity ward in Jowhar. Sixty deliveries and 10 caesarean sections were done in the first month of operations. MSF also hopes to open a tuberculosis pilot project in the town of Mahaday in 2007.

There are 105,000 direct beneficiaries, from a target population of 175,000.

MSF provided 103,390 outpatient and 19,142 pregnancy care consultations in 2006. The most important diagnosis were upper respiratory tract infection, lower respiratory tract infection. A measles vaccination campaign for children between 6 months and 15 years old, also took place, reaching over 3,600 children. Most of the target population is rural, and includes members of the minority Bantu ethnic group.

Primary healthcare and maternity Middle Shabeelle

Project objective: To provide basic health services, epidemiological surveillance and response to emergencies in the districts of Jowhar and Mahaday.

Network of six health centres, providing outpatient preventive and curative services, mother and child care and epidemiology points; three mobile epidemiology teams throughout both districts and one maternity in town.

Response to emergencies: 26,387 children vaccinated in the measles mass vaccination campaign (between March and April 2006) and distribution of 16,632 mosquito nets in 58 villages affected by the floods of October and November 2006.