Imana Medical Relief Report - Mogadishu, Somalia

Submitted by Dr. Ismail A. Mehr IMR Chair 8/15/11


I personally represented IMANA-FIMA on a visit to Mogadishu on August 11th. The purpose of this 24 hour trip was to gain valuable insight into the situation on the ground and also try to delineate a plan of action that is responsible, efficient, effective and safe for our teams. The trip was coordinated through Islamic Relief UK & USA. Islamic Relief has been present in Somalia since the conflict originated and has a country director, staff and country office located in Mogadishu. Both Islamic Relief UK and USA had prior to my arrival performed site visits and were extremely concerned at the medical nightmare that was ensuing and lack of healthcare.

8/10/11 Meeting with Islamic Relief:

Present: Dr. Ismail A.  Mehr (IMANA), Shabel Firuz (IR UK, East Africa Regional Director),                  Adnan Ansari (IR USA, VP), & Harris Nyatsanza (IR UK, East Africa Desk)

This was an informative discussion reviewing the current ground situation in Mogadishu prior to my departure for Somalia.

  • Banadir Hospital is the only tertiary care hospital in Mogadishu
  • Currently only two physicians on staff, one surgeon and one pediatrician and four interns
  • Islamic Relief wants to support six months of emergent needs and devise plan for a total of 18 months focusing on building an infrastructure for healthcare
  • Collaboration between IMANA/FIMA and Islamic Relief
  • Logistics to be provided by Islamic Relief:
    • Housing/Food
    • Security
    • Transport
    • Supplies
    • Potential arrangement with airlines (Turkish/Etihad/Emirates)

8/11/11 Meeting with Dr. Ifthikhar (Mph) (Islamic Relief Somalia Country Director):

I met with Dr. Ifthikhar at the Islamic Relief office in Mogadishu along with the program coordinator Mr. Abdul Razzak. I was given a full and thorough overview of Islamic Relief projects in Somalia prior to this current disaster. Islamic Relief has been active in Somalia since 1996. I was then briefed on the current crisis. The areas affected by the drought are Lower Shabelle, Bay, and Bakool regions. They are approximately two –three hundred kilometers west and south west of the capital. The population affected is agro-pastoral and have lost their lands. The resulting famine resulted in the migration of hundreds millions to either Kenya (Dadaab) or Mogadishu. There are presently nine IDP camps within Mogadishu with a total of well over 800,000 residents. Approximately 70% of these residents are due to the current crisis while 30% were displaced due to the conflict over the past several years.

Islamic Relief is presently involved in food distribution in the drought affected areas (Lower Shabelle, Bay, Bakool). A diarrhea triage facility is being built at Banadir hospital to help assist with the current Cholera outbreak. The current critical needs are food, water and emergent healthcare in no particular order as per the Mogadishu office. A conservative estimate is that more than 500 children a day are losing their lives. More than 50% of the children are severely malnourished.

Presently multiple Rec Crescents have responded with teams, Turkey, Iran, Kuwait, Qatar and UAE. These teams are assisting in food distribution and initial health assessments but no medical interventions. The OIC (organization of Islamic Cooperation) is assisting in overseeing and managing the healthcare needs in Mogadishu.

On behalf of IMANA/FIMA I presented the logistical issues that require attention in regards to mobilization of FIMA Teams on a big scale.

  • Housing/Food
  • Security
  • Local Transport
  • Coordination of teams
  • Medical Supplies
  • Maintain patient data/records

8/11/11 Site Visit Former US-Embassy IDP Camp:

I visited this IDP camp of approximately 105,000 residents. The camp was a far cry from the typical refugee camps one sees. There were no actual tents, no latrines, fresh water reservoir bladder and no central command structure. I have never seen such despair in my life till that day. Islamic Relief has been also sponsoring 4 mobile BHU’s that rotate from camp to camp. I met with the young physicians in this facility. There were 3 Chief Officers with minimal supplies treating hundreds per day. Unfortunately their level of expertise and accommodating medical supplies was far from being standard of care. The number one diagnosis as per the young doctors was cholera and measles. Sever malnutrition is a given in all idp’s. In this camp alone approximately 10% of the women are pregnant with no pre-natal, natal or post-natal care.

8/11/11 Organization of Islamic Cooperation Health Cluster Meeting, OIC office Mogadishu:

I was invited to partake in the cluster meeting. The meeting was chaired by Mr. Ahmed Adil who is the Somalia OIC representative.  Many local NGO’s who primarily don’t deal with healthcare attended however there was no international NGO’s besides myself on behalf of IMANA-FIMA. I presented the proposal of IMANA-FIMA medical teams under one coordinated central command structure rotating through Mogadishu. This proposal was widely appreciated and was given a very enthusiastic response.

8/11/11 Banadir Hospital Site Visit:

Banadir hospital is the largest hospital in Mogadishu. It is the only tertiary hospital in the capital. It is a rather large complex on an enclosed campus with three separate buildings while the fourth (Islamic Relief diarrhea center) is being built. The departments are separated into materninty-gyn, medicine, surgery and pediatrics. Unfortunately decades of unrest and conflict have taken a toll on the hospital’s medical infrastructure, lacking even the most basic of supplies. The pediatric ward was filled past capacity 10 times with children who either had cholera and/or measles. The daily number of deaths was 12-15 at the hospital.

  • 2 doctors
  • 4 interns
  • Staff is only able to see 300 patients per day
  • 250 admissions per week
  • Hundreds line up every day to be seen
  • Hospital only has 60 beds
  • 3 operating rooms (unable to visit)
  • Very basic radiology suite

8/12/11 Koorsan IDP camp, Mogadishu:

As previously mentioned the former US embassy IDP camp was the worst I had ever seen was short lived. This camp has left a vivid image of death and misery in my mind. It is a smaller camp with 10,920 residents. The average pediatric deaths per say is 11-13.

  • No water
  • No sanitation
  • No healthcare

8/12/12 Closing meeting with Dr. Ifthikhar:

I will detail this in the attached proposal.

I attempted several times to connect with our FIMA partners from Soyda but due to multiple different mobile networks and lack of connectivity between them I was unable to talk until I returned to Nairobi.

Last modified on Sunday, 21 August 2011 16:03
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