MSF in Somalia

Mohamud Macalim Abdulle © MSF

Mohamud Macalim Abdulle Vaccinating a child during a nutritional survey © MSF

Somalia is one of very few countries where MSF is not always able to work with international staff based permanently on the ground. Our projects are run by committed Somali staff.

“National staff are the backbone of MSF’s work in any country. In Somalia, these staff remain, the drugs and supplies remain and MSF’s commitment to help the Somali people remains, in-spite of the increasing insecurity in the country”, Abdikarim Tahir, Assistant Head of Mission for Somalia.

MSF projects in Somalia are run by country management teams based in Nairobi. These teams make any major decisions regarding MSF’s operations in Somalia and visit to provide assistance, training and support, whenever security allows.

“Somalia has so little in the way of provision of health services that the list of acute health needs is very long….There’s very few trained medical staff in Somalia as a whole and there’s hardly any in the southern part of the country where it’s been very violent and people that had training or a valuable skill have either moved to more stable parts of the country or left just because they’ve got a valuable skill that they use in safer job elsewhere. So we had to train a lot of staff literally from scratch and find people that are able to read and write and to develop those into national staff capable of performing most of the functions of a clinic in our absence.” Colin McIlreavy, Former Head of Mission, Somalia

Recruitment of non-skilled workers in Somalia involves the community in order that the work force reflects the diversity of the particular location. Skilled staff are recruited through a system of tests and interviews, emphasising the need for the most competent staff so that the highest quality of medical service can be provided.