MSF closes medical project in Bossaso, Puntland State, Somalia

Nairobi/Barcelona - Due to the kidnapping of two of its humanitarian workers last December, the international medical organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) decided to close, on April 15, all its remaining medical and nutritional operations for the internally displaced people (IDP) living at the outskirts of Bossaso. Immediately after the kidnapping, MSF decided to suspend the presence of all its international staff in Bossaso and to rely on national staff to run the medical and nutritional activities. Their great dedication and total commitment has been essential for the continuation of the nutritional assistance provided to malnourished children in the IDP camps. "But the lack of acceptable security conditions left the organization with no other option than to finally close the project," said Dr. Roger Teck, MSF Director of Operations. However, MSF would like to highlight the deteriorated health situation of the internally displaced people living at the outskirts of Bossaso who are in very precarious conditions. Women and children have been the most affected by the long humanitarian crisis causing suffering and exposing them to malnutrition, disease and increased risk of death. In December 2007, the results of the nutritional survey carried out by MSF showed an alarming high level (27.2 percent) of global acute malnutrition with 9.4 percent severe acute malnutrition, all of these figures above emergency threshold levels according to WHO 2005 Standards. During the seven months that the project was running, MSF admitted 1,957 severely malnourished children in its nutritional programme of whom 516 children had to be hospitalized for in-patient therapeutic feeding and care. MSF has worked continuously in Somalia for more than 17 years and is currently providing medical care in 10 regions in the country. In 2007, several new projects were opened as a response to the medical and humanitarian consequences of the current war. In 2007 medical teams performed more than 2,500 surgical operations, 520,000 outpatient consultations and admitted around 23,000 patients to hospitals.