August 12, 2011 – This past week, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) sent medical teams and four charter planes carrying 55 tons of medical equipment, medicines and therapeutic food to Mogadishu in response to the crisis in Somalia. In the past weeks, an estimated 100,000 people have fled from south and central Somalia to the capital to seek assistance. They are settling in numerous camps in and around Mogadishu, with little or no access to health care.
Around 1,000 children were screened for malnutrition. More than half of them were found to be malnourished. MSF started measles vaccination campaigns in dozens of makeshift camps where thousands of people have gathered after fleeing the exceptional drought and the violence in other parts of the country. Almost 3,000 children were vaccinated so far.
“MSF is extremely worried about the situation of the displaced. The situation is critical. MSF has begun reinforcing its operations in Mogadishu and is assessing areas around the capital in order to adequately respond to this crisis,”
Dr Unni Karunakara, International President of MSF
Through a mobile clinic, MSF staff began providing medical care to around 100 patients daily. The teams are also distributing relief items, such as hygiene materials and plastic sheeting for temporary shelter
Since years, MSF has been providing medical care in Somalia's capital through health facilities in Daynile and Darkheley where more than 370 medical consultations were provided last week. To address the increasing medical needs, MSF will open inpatient therapeutic feeding centres, a measles treatment unit, as well as a 50-bed cholera treatment centre in Mogadishu in the coming days.
MSF in Somalia
MSF has worked continuously in Somalia since 1991 and currently provides free medical care in eight regions. Over 1,400 Somali staff, supported by approximately 100 staff in Nairobi, provide free primary healthcare, surgery, treatment for malnutrition, as well as support to displaced people through health care, water supply and relief items distributions in nine locations in south and central Somalia.
MSF is also providing medical care to Somali refugees in Kenya (Dagahaley and Ifo camps), and in Ethiopia (Liben).
In Dagahaley camp, MSF is the sole provider of medical care for the 130,000 people and currently treating 6,400 children for malnutrition. In Ifo, MSF provides medical care to the 25,000 refugees gathered on the outskirts of the camp.
In Liben, MSF is providing medical care in the six camps where 119,000 refugees are gathered. Here, more than 10,000 children are enrolled in nutritional programs.