MSF resumes activities in Hawa Abdi, Somalia, after security incident

“We are relieved that the security situation in Hawa Abdi has improved and that we have been able to resume our medical activities,” said David Querol, MSF Head of Mission. “The armed groups that occupied the clinic have left the hospital and our medical staff is treating patients once again.”

Medical activities in Hawa Abdi have been steadily resuming since the end of May, initially with the reopening of the nutritional programmes. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) medical teams have already treated 907 children in the ambulatory therapeutic feeding programme and 131 in the inpatient feeding programme. Last weekend, the paediatric activities in the hospital reopened and 35 children have since been admitted. MSF continues to assess the overall security situation and hopes to restart outpatient services very soon.

On May 5, 2010, a private dispute escalated into a violent clash in the area surrounding the Hawa Abdi clinic in Somalia and triggered the occupation of the medical premises by an armed group. MSF was forced to evacuate its patients and suspend its activities, leaving thousands of Somalis living in the Afgooye corridor without access to health care.

MSF urges all warring parties in Somalia to respect the neutrality of medical facilities and staff so that the organization can continue its life-saving work.

MSF has worked in Somalia since 1991 and currently provides free medical care in Banadir, Bay, Hiraan, Middle Juba, Middle Shabelle, Lower Shabelle, Galgaduud, and Mudug Regions. Over 1,300 Somali staff, supported by approximately 100 staff in Nairobi provide primary and secondary healthcare, malnutrition treatment, support to displaced people, surgery, water and relief supply distributions.

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Voices from the Field 13 December 2010