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Mogadishu Area in Throes of Diarrhoea Outbreak

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Mogadishu and surrounding areas are seeing an increase in reported cases of severe diarrhoea, which killed at least six people in recent days, including five children at a local hospital.

A combination of hot temperatures and a limited supply of clean water in the Somali capital are spreading diarrhoea cases, caused by bacterial infection and parasites, public health authorities said.

The mother and child clinic at Benadir Hospital alone admitted as many as 50 patients suffering from diarrhoea. Most of the patients are internally displaced people who live in camps outside of Mogadishu, said Doctor Lul Mohamud, a physician at the hospital.

"Five children under the age of five have died in the hospital, and we have aggressively treated others who are improving, even as we continue to receive more," Mohamud told Sabahi.

Shamso Omar, a 35-year-old displaced person, said her young daughter's health improved after spending two days at Benadir Hospital.

"When I brought her to the hospital, she was gravely ill, but she is better now. We were not charged for the bed or the medicine in the hospital," Omar told Sabahi.

Eleven prisoners in the Mogadishu central jail also became ill with diarrhoea, according to Doctor Abdirahman Hassan Awale.

"When we started treatments in the Mogadishu central jail, we went a long way in combating the diarrhoea outbreak that impacted the prisoners in this jail," he told Sabahi. One person died as result of diarrhoea, but the rest are recovering, Awale said.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), diarrhoeal disease annually kills 1.5 million children worldwide and is the second-leading killer of children aged five and under. Most people who die of diarrhoea succumb to it through severe dehydration and loss of bodily fluids, according to the WHO.

In response to the reported outbreak, Doctor Abdirisaq Ahmed Yusuf, director of the health department in the Ministry of Development and Social Affairs, said the ministry has supplied medicine to areas affected by cases of diarrhoea.

"The health department is working hard to control diarrhoea by providing medicine to the hospitals that have admitted patients suffering from the condition," he told Sabahi.

Benadir Deputy Governor Ali Ahmed Gure said the regional administration was working to supply clean water to Mogadishu residents.

Currently, Mogadishu residents are using water that originates within the city, which causes problems. "The sewer and the drinking water wells are located in the same place, which can result in conditions such as diarrhoea," Gure told Sabahi.

Gure said his administration would re-open two wells that previously supplied water to Mogadishu, including the Arfid well, with help from the Turkish government.


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