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Mogadishu, Somalia: New wave of violence keeps people from seeking medical care
July 25, 2007
Last May, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) opened a pediatric clinic for children under five in the Halwadag district of Mogadishu. Since then, the clinic has been extended and increasing numbers of children have been admitted for treatment. Now, however, an increase in insecurity is keeping many children from receiving care.
Over the past few weeks, there have been rising tensions in Mogadishu, where the Somalia reconciliation process is currently taking place. More troops are circulating in the streets and since the beginning of July, there have been daily explosions and gunfire battles with civilian casualties.
There are few public health facilities still functioning here and the population is struggling to get medical assistance. Patients are having difficulty reaching the MSF clinic, as many are too scared to walk in the streets and public transport services are getting worse. People have started to flee the city again.
At the beginning of July, the average number of children in the MSF clinic was 150 per day. As a result of the unrest and explosions near the clinic, last week's patient numbers dropped to 100 per day.
The increasing violence is affecting everyone in the capital. It is preventing people from seeking medical assistance, as well as preventing medical staff and humanitarian agencies from reaching those most in need. Recently, some of the few remaining health facilities have been unable to offer continuous assistance, and at times they have been unable to respond to even the most basic needs.
Civilians are, once again, the main victims of the instability and violence in Mogadishu, and the present conflict is worsening an already critical situation. MSF calls upon all fighting parties to respect civilian safety.
MSF has been present in Mogadishu since 1994 and is now working in three locations in the Somali capital, providing different medical services. MSF has worked continuously in southern and central Somalia for more than 16 years and is currently providing medical care in ten regions: Bakool, Banadir, Bay, Galgadud, Hiraan, Lower Juba, Middle Juba, Mudug, Middle Shabelle, and Lower Shabelle.