MSF CLOSES ITS LARGEST MEDICAL PROJECT IN MOGADISHU AFTER KILLINGS – Other projects in Somalia continue, but MSF medical assistance in Somali capital reduced by half

19.01.2012 | General, Press Release

19th January 2012 - Following the tragic killings of our colleagues Philippe Havet and Dr. Karel Keiluhu in Mogadishu, Somalia, on the 29th of December 2011, the medical humanitarian organization Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) sees itself forced to end all activities in that project.

This closure halves the assistance MSF is providing in Mogadishu. For now,  other MSF projects will continue to provide medical care in the other districts of the capital, as well as in 10 locations in the rest of Somalia.

However, the continuation of MSF work to assist Somalis in need of medical care is dependent upon the respect for personnel, patients and medical facilities. Where these conditions prevail, MSF remains committed to continue its activities in Somalia.

“It is hard to close health services in a location in Somalia where the presence of our medical teams is genuinely life-saving everyday,” states Christopher Stokes, MSF General Director, “but the brutal assassination of our colleagues makes it impossible for us to continue working in this project in Mogadishu.”

This project included a 120 bed cholera treatment centre in Hodan district, and a 120 bed hospital for patients affected by measles and malnutrition and in critical condition in Wadajir, where the main office was located. Mobile services for measles vaccination and malnutrition treatment, reaching thousands in Hodan, Wadajir and Waberi will also be stopped by the end of the month

In this project, MSF has been assisting 200,000 Somalis who had fled to the capital in recent months. Since August 2011, treatment has been provided to 11,787 malnourished children, 1,232 patients for acute watery diarrhea and 861 measles patients. MSF teams have also vaccinated 67,228 children against measles.

MSF will wind down its activities in this project in the most responsible manner possible under the circumstances, with specific attention to the transfer of patients currently under our care. In this light, MSF respectfully requests that the community allow this process to take place unhindered and that the premises of the medical facilities in Hodan and Wadajir be respected.

MSF strongly reiterates its call to all parties, the leadership and the people of Somalia to facilitate the safe release of Montserrat Serra and Blanca Thiebaut, MSF aid workers who were abducted in Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya on 13 October 2011 while carrying out emergency assistance for the Somali population.

MSF has been working in Somalia continuously since 1991 and currently operates 13 projects in the country, including medical activities related to the ongoing emergency, vaccination campaigns, as well as nutritional interventions. MSF also assists Somali refugees in camps in Dadaab, Kenya, and Dolo Ado, Ethiopia.

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