Back in the Benadir-Hospital

About five month ago the first CapAnamurteam took off for Mogadischu to provide help to the victims of famine and civil war. Under extremely severe conditions our team has equipped the children’s ward with medical equipment and medicines and took care of the never ending flow of patients. A lot of children, anyway weakened by malnutrition, suffered from Malaria anddiarrhoea. The operation in the hospital, which was understaffed and overcrowded with patients, was debilitating as well as definitely necessary. But then a threat of kidnapping forced us to stop our work.

This was in October last year. Our team had to leave the hospital at once, but wanted to stay in the vicinity of Mogadischu as they had experienced day by day the need for help for the refugees. Therefore we started a second project by early November:  A walk- in- clinic in the capital town to take care of Somali refugees. Daily about 350 refugees were taken care of with the support of local helpers. The most severe cases were transferred to the Benadir –hospital, which we continuously provided with medicines. Finally, early January we were able to return to the 600 beds hospital. The new regulations with a lot of safety measures enabled us to continue our work. Here we have much better possibilities for children’s health care for the seriously invalids.

Besides the daily health care for the patients Cap Anamur refurbished four children’s wards. Important things like beds, mattresses, mosquito-shelters and lamps were purchased, toilets and showers were equipped. Furthermore we supported the built up of a blood deposit. An important part of our work is the implementation of a vaccinating concept. Cap Anamur team member Marina Knauf made sure that all children got the vaccinations necessary. The training of the local colleagues is an important issue, too, especially in the areas of anesthesia, emergency care and “triage”, the first assessment of patients to insure that most severe cases will be handled first.

The situation in Somalia, where civil war has destroyed most of the infrastructure is still dramatic. Fresh water and electric energy are not for granted and generally are provided by private companies. Many of the destroyed hospitals have not been reopened yet. The stream of refugees into the capital is ongoing and the refugee camps are growing. Their supply is chaotic and the local organizations lose control over the number of refugees. Only a few UN-representatives and foreign aid organizations dare to visit Mogadischu; foreign aid is limited due to safety reasons. For us this means utmost caution, much restriction of movement and a lot of work.

Therefore the need for help remains urgent especially in the harbor area and in the refugee camps. We check all possibilities to help in other areas. This was the reason for Edit Fischnaller, the chairwomen of Cap Anamur, to travel to Somalia on January 1st: She and our team looked at several refugee camps in Mogadischu and distributed tents to the poorest families. They organized an immediate food distribution. The supplies in rice, beans, flour and oil will at least reach for the coming weeks. Our logistics specialist Juergen Maul provided two 10.000 liter water tanks, which he installed over the weekend. Starting Monday the camp inhabitants will have clean drinking water – before they had to share the water from the waterholes with the animals. “But as long as foreign aid arrives so rare in Somalia, you feel like a drop of water on a hot stone (German saying). We urgently ask for your support to enable us to continue our work here”, said Edith Fischnaller.