Over the past four decades, our teams have responded to recurring humanitarian and health emergencies caused by conflict, climate-related events such as widespread flooding and recurring droughts, as well as outbreaks of diseases such as cholera, measles, and COVID-19.
Today, we continue to work in hospitals in Somalia and Somaliland, providing obstetric and paediatric care, in- and out- patient nutritional support, emergency services, and tuberculosis. Our teams also run mobile clinics providing basic healthcare in camps for internally displaced people and host communities.
We carry out vaccination campaigns and respond to nutritional crises where feasible. MSF also provides resources to conduct ‘eye camps’, which reach thousands of people with eye diseases.
A major part of our work involves specialised training for healthcare staff and capacity building, along with rehabilitating hospitals, and expanding and improving the state of water, sanitation and hygiene services.
Our activities in 2020 in Somalia and Somaliland
Data and information from the International Activity Report 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic aggravated the overall humanitarian situation in Somalia and Somaliland, where people were already struggling with the effects of climate hazards, locust infestations and recurrent outbreaks of fighting. Malnutrition rates among children were well above the emergency threshold in many areas, and the number of deaths during pregnancy and childbirth remained among the highest in the world. In 2020, 2.6 million people were displaced, mainly due to conflict and floods, while 4.1 million people were considered food insecure.*
Throughout the year, despite the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we managed to maintain most of our regular activities and support to hospitals, including maternal, paediatric and emergency care, nutrition, and diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis (TB). Some activities, such as mobile clinics, were put on hold, while others that had been planned, such as ‘eye camps’ – providing screening and treatment for common eye conditions – and fistula surgery campaigns, were delayed.
In Somaliland, which has a high burden of TB, MSF supported the diagnosis and treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis TB (DR-TB) at a TB hospital in Hargeisa and three regional TB centres. We supplied patients with longer medication refills to reduce the number of medical appointments for which they would need to travel, lessening the risk that patients would contract COVID-19.
We adapted our medical programmes to screen COVID-19 patients and referred them to designated treatment facilities; provided training for Ministry of Health staff in several locations; and put in place hygiene, emergency preparedness and preventive measures to protect staff and patients.
In addition to these activities, we launched emergency responses to assist people affected by flooding in Bardale and in Bardhere town after the Juba river burst its banks in April; a cholera outbreak in Beledweyne and in Baidoa town in May; and the aftermath of cyclone Gati, which hit the coast of Puntland in November.
*OCHA, Somalia Situation Report