Lifesaving healthcare provided to the community of Jilib in Lower Juba Valley, Somalia, is under threat following the looting of a Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) medical clinic.
Armed men raided the MSF nutritional treatment center in Jilib earlier in the week, taking crucial medical supplies meant for the Somali people. As a result, MSF has been forced to suspend its activities in the town. Three hundred and thirty severely malnourished children are now unable to access crucial medical care.
“The town of Jilib suffers from chronic food shortages, and malnutrition is a major health risk for people living in the area,” explained MSF Head of Mission Karin Fisher. “Sadly, it is the town’s most vulnerable people, especially children, who suffer the most. It is vital that those affected by malnutrition are able to access free medical care, now and in the future. Without it, many lives will be put at risk.”
MSF provides free healthcare to people throughout Somalia, based solely on medical need and regardless of political or clan affiliation. Services are delivered by committed Somali staff, who are supported by a management team in Nairobi, Kenya.
As an independent association of medical professionals and support staff, MSF remains committed to providing healthcare to the people of Somalia, as it has done since 1992. However, actions taken against MSF facilities and staff prevent the organization from providing the extent of medical care so desperately needed in Somalia.
MSF calls on all combatants and authorities to respect medical staff, structures, and activities so that all Somalis can access lifesaving medical care.
MSF in Somalia
In 2008 alone, MSF teams provided 727,428 outpatient consultations, including 267,168 for children under five. Over 55,000 women received antenatal care consultations and more than 24,000 people were admitted as inpatients to MSF-supported hospitals and health clinics. There were 3,878 surgeries performed, 1,249 for violence-related injuries. Medical teams treated 1,036 people suffering from the deadly neglected disease kala azar and more than 4,000 people for malaria. More than 1,550 people began tuberculosis treatment. Nearly 35,000 people suffering from malnutrition were provided with food and medical care and 82,174 vaccinations were provided.
To ensure its independence, MSF does not accept any money from governments or donor agencies for its programs in Somalia. The organization relies solely on charitable donations from the general public worldwide.