MSF treats victims of fighting in central Somalia

War wounded treated in the MSF-run hospital in Guri El in Galgaduud.

Facts: MSF offers free medical treatment in nine regions of Southern and Central Somalia. The organisation has worked in Guri El (Istarlin) hospital in Galgaduud region since 2006. MSF also runs two health posts in the area: one in Dhusa Mareb, the capital of Galgaduud, and one in Hinder. In 2008, 63,425 consultations were provided in the out patient departments of the hospital and health posts and free medication was provided to all patients in need. Almost 4,000 people were admitted to the hospital. Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has treated dozens of war wounded patients following fighting in the town of Webho in Central Somalia on Friday. The patients arrived Friday night at the 80 bed MSF-run Istarlin Hospital in Guri El - approximately 60 km northeast of the clashes - in the region of Galgaduud. After initial triage by the medical staff on duty, seven patients were identified as in need of urgent surgery, six were treated in the out-patient department and then discharge. The rest were admitted for further treatment of fractures and other non-life threatening injuries. To cope with the large influx of patients to the hospital that was already almost fully occupied due to a measles epidemic, extra staff were called in and additional bed capacity was created by clearing auxiliary rooms and using the corridors. On Saturday, a ward round was carried out to ensure that all patients ready to go home were discharged.

Delay of measles campaign

Since the beginning of May, MSF has treated more than 104 cases of measles in the Istarlin Hospital and the out-patient department staff were in the process of preparing for a measles vaccination campaign in the area. Preparations included visits to a number of villages, some up to 54 km away from Guri El, in search of more cases and to inform the villagers about the upcoming vaccination campaign, which will begin in the coming weeks. However, due to a limited availability of qualified staff, the nurses and nurse aides responsible for the measles activities have been re-assigned to care for the wounded in the hospital. The outreach activities have consequently been put on hold and nurses and nurse aides are on stand-by. MSF will resume the measles activities in the coming days.