Lifesaving healthcare provided to the community of Jilib in Lower Juba Valley, Somalia, is under threat following the looting of a clinic run by medical humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Armed men raided the MSF nutritional treatment centre earlier in the week, taking crucial medical supplies meant for the Somali people. As a result, MSF has been forced to suspend it activities in this location. Consequently 330 severely malnourished and children are now unable to access crucial medical care. “The town of Jilib suffers from chronic food shortages and malnutrition is a major health risk for people living in the area”, explains MSF Head of Mission, Karin Fischer Liddle, “Sadly, it is the town’s most vulnerable people, especially children, who suffer the most. It is vital that those affected by malnutrition are able to access free medical care, now and in the future. Without it many lives will be put at risk.” MSF provides free healthcare to people throughout Somalia, based on medical need and regardless of political or clan affiliation. Services are delivered by our committed Somali staff, supported by a management team in Nairobi. As an independent association of medical professionals and support staff, MSF remains committed to providing healthcare to the people of Somalia, as we have done since 1992. However, actions taken against MSF facilities and staff prevent the organization from providing the extent of medical care so desperately needed in Somalia. MSF calls on all combatants and authorities to respect medical staff, structures and activities in order that all Somalis, men, women and children, can access lifesaving medical care.
MSF in Somalia
In 2008 alone, MSF teams provided 727,428 outpatient 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. To ensure our independence, MSF does not receive any money from governments or donor agencies for our programs in Somalia. We rely solely on charitable donations by the general public worldwide.