In August 2011, when we started our work in Mogadischu, a hard task was lying ahead us. Within two years we implemented considerable building projects and treated innumerable patients with medical care. Now we had to give up the Project: the safety of our employees could not be ensured anymore.
The project started in July 2011, in a period of extreme drought, which caused starvation in the whole region of the Horn of Africa. Millions of people were dependent on humanitarian aid. Hundred thousand people gathered in displacement camps and were provided makeshift.
The population of Somalia was hit especially hard. Since 20 years the country is suffering permanent shooting war about natural sources and political power. Especially in the capital Mogadischu, the former “perl of Eastafrica”, armed conflicts between Warlords Clans and several militias have destroyed most of the infrastructure and compelled the civil population in hunger, poverty as well as illness. Due to the precarious security situation, the international assistance is rare.
Our logistician Volker Rath travelled to evaluate the situation and showed us the recent need for help of the people in this region. A month later, our team travelled to Mogadischu with the highest level of safety precaution to care about the four areas of the paediatric ward of the Benadir-Hospital. With new medical equipment and medications our staff subserved an incessant inflow of patients. Many of the weak children suffering from malnutrition also suffered malaria and diarrhoeal disease.
In October 2011 a thread of abduction forced us to leave the biggest hospital in Mogadischu immediately and stop our work for the moment. Considering the still urgent emergency situation of the population of Somalia we built up an alternative project in Mogadischu. We founded an ambulance where we could treat about 350 refugees together with local employees.
In the beginning of 2012, we could return to the Benadir-Hospital. In addition to the daily work at the patients, we renovated the house with 600 beds with huge effort. Besides the installation of new toilets, a waste water system as well as a fresh water system, we renovated thee four paediatric wards under guidance of Cap-Anamur employee Eckard Schmitdke. Also, a separated quarantine station was established for the protection of infectious diseases. All necessary medical equipment were purchased and installed, the electricity supply ensured and the wards and the operation theatre was equipped with drugs, special food for undernourished children, beds and lamps.
Another emphasis of our local medical task was the instruction of a concept for vaccination, which should ensure all necessary vaccinations for children. Moreover, we supported local colleagues to study further in areas of anaesthesia and emergency medicine. With such a high number of patients primarily it is important to realise the most severe cases and treat them urgently. Such a kind of selection is not easy to handle, neither medically nor ethically but essential for survival. Because of that, the skills for such a first estimation, also known as triage, were taught by our employees.
Involuntarily we have to finish our commitment in Mogadischu. The current situation in Somalia is to threatening. Despite extensive protections it is not possible anymore to ensure the safety of our employees locally. We regret this development, however look back on a successful operation. In 2012, we provided medical care to about 60.000 patients. The rate of mortality was reduced by half. All started building works were finished as planned. Together with the training of the local stuff they are the basis for an effective improvement of the local medical care.