Unacceptable security risks oblige closure of MSF clinic in Mogadishu, Somalia

"MSF continues to provide essential healthcare to the Somali people in Mogadishu and throughout central and southern Somalia, as they face increasing levels of suffering," Marcel Langenbach, MSF Head of Emergency Team. "However, in the case of our clinic in the Wardigley/Hodan Area of Mogadishu we have sadly been forced to cease our activities. Despite huge medical needs, the rise in violence in the area has led to an unacceptable risk to our patients and dedicated staff." MSF has been forced to cease medical activities in one of its clinics, based in the Wardigley/Hodan Area of Mogadishu, due to increased fighting which has led to unacceptable security risks for patients and staff. The clinic delivered essential health care services to children under-12 years of age and expectant mothers. The closure comes following a further deterioration of the situation in the area where the clinic is located. "The fighting around the clinic has significantly increased; several mortars have landed very close by and recently a rocket propelled grenade actually entered the top floor of our building but thankfully did not detonate," said Langenbach. Prior to closure, the clinic provided an average of 300 out-patient consultations a day and cared for around 35 in-patients on a regular basis. Between January and June 2008, MSF staff carried out 33,206 outpatient consultations, primarily for respiratory and urinary tract infections and acute watery diarrhoea. More than 4,000 women received ante-natal consultations and 637 people were admitted to the inpatient department. The numbers speak for themselves and the need to assist people is clear, yet to continue under the current circumstances is impossible. Despite this closure, MSF continues to deliver vital health care services in and around Mogadishu and throughout central and southern Somalia. Further, we continue to seek new ways to deliver much needed medical aid to the people of Somalia, in spite of the rising insecurity. In order to do so it is imperative that all parties continue to respect MSF's neutrality and independence. MSF has worked in Somalia for more than 17 years and currently runs 11 projects in nine regions of south-central Somalia.