Came to stay

„In the beginning nobody expected that the emergency aid for the people at the Horn of Africa would become such a meaningful and promising project“, recalls Cap-Anamur-Logistician Volker Rath. „Especially in Mogadishu, one of the most dangerous cities in the world. For that reason this city receives only little help from the western institutions“. Thank to extensive and strict safety measures it was possible for our team to adjust to the situation. Since then, almost for one and a half year, we take care of all four wards of the Benadir Hospital’s Children Clinic, the largest hospital in the capital of Somalia. During this time not only we took charge of patient care, but also things like construction or sewage system.

„In fact, we can only deliver aid effectively, if we have the detailed information about the hospital’s daily run“, explains Rath. „To work and live here, at this place, is not the comfortable, but definitely is the most effective way to provide aid. From distance, from an air-conditioned office it is difficult to react to the vast majority of problems. The permanent presence of our medical staff, technicians and logisticians in Somalia, the country without the functional governmental structures, is necessary. To make sure that our relief supplies reach the affected people instead of appearing on local markets, we monitor our delivery very carefully.

During the past twelve months around 60.000 patients were treated only in Children’s Clinic (250 beds). Out of that number almost 30.000 were critically ill and had to be admitted to stationary unit. For our medical staff it meant very hard work, as they had to control permanently not only the diagnosis and the therapy, but also try to motivate their somalian colleagues.  The progress was apparent: the mortality was twice reduced.

“This success and the willingness of somalian colleagues to learn new things motivates us”, tells the Pediatrician from Paderborn, Anne Kreplin.  “Thank to our mutual commitment, medicine delivery from Cap Anamur, and special nutrition for the malnourished children it was possible to save many children’s lives. It gives us strength to work on this laborious and stressful project, to abstain from the comfort in Germany and the Christmas Holidays with our family and friends. Actually, many of our colleagues extended their stay over the common six months period”.

Apart from the important everyday work with the patients it was crucial for us to further train our local colleagues. Our physicians, nurses, technicians and project coordinators carry out trainings in the field of Medicine, Hygiene and Organization. “It is very important that medical care improves in the long term and later survives independently without our presence”, hopes Volker Rath, who works in collaboration with Hospital Director Dr. Lul and Ministry of Health on a novel integrated management concept for the Benadir Hospital. The major challenge is a shortage of physicians and nursing staff. After the 20-year civil war the Health System is completely collapsed and everywhere skilled staff is needed.

For this reason Cap Anamur works on the training concept that contains among others the training plan for the local organizations. Their basic health care staff should recognize early symptoms and treat accordingly or transfer early enough to hospital. The developed training programs in Benadir Hospital should be established as an integral part of the educational training. “By training our somalian colleagues we aim to introduce our knowledge and resources to maintain sustainable medical care. Hopefully, with the new government and the influence of democracy the situation will be finally normalized.”