Medical care for Hargeisa’s most vulnerable people

20.03.2010 | Maroodi Jeex Region, Somaliland

Today, Suaad has come to the MSF clinic in Shadaha for the second time.  The first time she came by herself, to check if MSF’s health services were really for free.  This time she has brought her three-year-old son, Yusuf Abdelahi, who is severely malnourished.

Suaad lives with her six children in the centre of Hargeisa and earns a little money washing people’s clothes. ”I used to live in Ethiopia, in a small village not far from Jijiga,” she says, “but when we lost our
livestock due to the drought and my husband was not able to earn money any more, we decided to return to Hargeisa, where I was born.”  She says that life here is difficult, but it is better than the life they left behind in Ethiopia five years ago.  While she is waiting her turn to see the MSF nurse, Suaad gently rocks her sick child in her arms.  The child hardly moves and his eyes are closed.

“More and more people are coming to our clinic,” says Faisal, a nurse and the clinic’s supervisor.  “We started in December and saw 100 patients in the first month.  Now there are days when we see more than 120 patients.  It is very busy.  At the moment we are focusing on small children, because they are the most vulnerable.” After Faisal finished examining Yusuf, Suaad was given medicine and enough therapeutic food to last for a week.  Next week she will bring her son back for a check-up, and will receive another week’s supply of therapeutic food.”  I know for sure that the little boy will be doing much better by then,” smiles Faisal, who has already started treating the next patient.

MSF’s Project in Hargeisa

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has recently returned to Somaliland. MSF doctors and nurses began treating people in Hargeisa in 1985, and continued working in various places in Somaliland until 1999. Now MSF has set up three small clinics in the city, providing nutritional care and basic healthcare to children under five, and antenatal and postnatal care to women from the Lug Iyo Lacaag, Shadaha and State House neighbourhoods. In these areas there are large numbers of displaced people, returnees and refugees, many of whom live in poor conditions and cannot afford to pay for healthcare.

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