Somalia: Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) resumes medical activities

Malnutrition and paediatric treatment underway in Galkayo North

Nearly four years after withdrawing its teams from Somalia, MSF has started treating patients again in the country. Teams are providing support to Mudug Regional Hospital, Galkayo North, in Somalia’s Puntland region, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.

MSF began supporting the hospital’s therapeutic feeding programme in May and the paediatric ward in June. With an average of 10 new admissions per day, medical staff in the intensive therapeutic feeding centre have already treated 349 children under the age of five for severe acute malnutrition, with patient numbers peaking at 111 at one time.

A total of 201 children have also been admitted to an isolation ward and treated for measles. In addition, MSF has admitted 100 children to the paediatric ward and provided 2,297 outpatient paediatric consultations since the beginning of June.

Since withdrawing its teams from Somalia four years ago due to a series of extreme attacks on its staff,  MSF has continuously monitored the situation in the country and re-engaged with the relevant authorities, assessing whether conditions would allow its staff to operate safely and humanitarian assistance to be delivered respectfully. MSF reiterates today the need for all parties to the conflict to support its medical assistance to the Somali people and to respect the safety of the humanitarian aid workers who risk their lives to care for them.

Because of its past experience, MSF’s return to Somalia is both cautious and modest. Its planned medical and humanitarian programmes in Puntland will be on a limited scale for now. MSF’s presence in Somalia, the scope of its programmes and the potential expansion of its activities to other regions in Somalia will fully depend on the acceptance, facilitation and active support received from the authorities and communities that MSF serves.