International Rescue Committee (IRC)

IRC opens second medical facility in war-ravaged Mogadishu

Women and children wait to be seen at the new clinic in Mogadishu. Photo: IRC

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has opened a second medical facility in Mogadishu, the battered capital city of war-ravaged Somalia. Seven temporary tents have been erected on the grounds of a bombed-out medical clinic where doctors and nurses will provide desperately needed health services while the clinic itself is being rebuilt. 

“This is the site of one of the oldest clinics in Mogadishu,” said Prafulla Mishra, the IRC’s country director for Somalia, who is based in Nairobi. “It was built in the early 1960s but hasn’t operated since 1990 because of the war.” 
 
Because of the urgent health needs of displaced people and other patients from surrounding communities it was decided to erect the tents even as the Somali ministry of health, with the IRC’s help, refurbishes and reopens the clinic.
 
 “We couldn’t wait for the rebuilding to be completed” said Mishra. “The needs are too great.” 

One of the tents serves as a pharmacy. Others are used for registering patients, as waiting rooms and for consultations. The IRC is providing medical supplies, training and the salaries of staff working in the new facility.
 
More than two decades of war have devastated Somalia’s healthcare system and prevented all but a few humanitarian organizations from providing medical care. Mogadishu’s few functioning medical facilities have been overwhelmed by an influx of people fleeing fighting and the effects of drought and famine in southern and central Somalia.
 
The new facility is treating between 50 and 60 patients a day but that number is expected to rise as more people learn about it. The re-opened clinic will serve some 22,000 displaced people in the immediate area.  
 
Already, the facility is relieving pressure on the city’s overcrowded central Banadir hospital by offering patients an alternative to the long and dangerous trek across town to where Banadir is located. 
 
“Before, when my child would get sick I could do nothing because I couldn’t afford to pay for treatment,” said a 24-year-old mother who had brought her sick daughter to the facility. “Now, the new clinic is near my home and I can come whenever I need to. I am very grateful.”
 

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