The health centres supported by MSF were
provided with various services, including free basic healthcare,
malnutrition treatment, surgery, epidemic response, water and relief
MSF said more than 1,500 staff worked for its medical programmes
across Somalia, including in Mogadishu and the two outlying towns of
Afgooye and Daynille, as well as eight other towns across the country.
"In 2012 alone, MSF teams provided more than 624,000 medical
consultations, admitted 41,100 patients to hospitals, cared for 30,090
malnourished children, vaccinated 58,620 people, and delivered 7,300
babies," MSF said in August in a statement announcing its decision to
But Somali doctors warn that the decision will adversely affect the lives of "hundreds of thousands of people".
Mohmaoud Yarow, a health officer in Mogadishu, said the impact of the
MSF withdrawal was immediate and health centres that had previously
received support from the international charity now have hundreds of
people in need of care and many lack the drugs with which to treat them.
"I can understand how difficult it has been for MSF to leave Somalia,
but the impact the pullout has had on the country's health sector is
enormous ... with time this could turn into a deadly health crisis,"
Yarow told IPS in Mogadishu.
Local media reported
in August that Al-Shabaab fighters seized control of a former
MSF-funded hospital in Marere, Middle Jubba Region, along with the
medical equipment and drugs.
Medical officials also say that the MSF pullout further complicates
the polio outbreak the country is facing as the medical charity had
provided essential vaccines against the disease.
Earlier this year, polio was detected in several areas in Somalia,
including the eastern region of Puntland as well as southern and central
parts of the country. The World Health Organisation has confirmed 101
cases here and a massive vaccination campaign against the viral disease
was launched in August.
The Somalia government has said that it was "deeply saddened" by the
MSF decision to withdraw and has reiterated its commitment to providing a
secure working environment to all aid agencies in the country.
Abdelaziz Qafiifo, spokesperson for Somali Ministry of Human
Development and Social Services, which is responsible for the health
sector, told IPS: "It is unfortunate that the withdrawal of MSF is
having an impact on the lives of the Somali people. We understand the
reasons for its pullout but that decision, whatever may have been its
justification, is now causing huge suffering in Somalia."
The Somali government said that the MSF decision has created "a
critical vacuum that needs to be filled" and could "lead to a
catastrophic humanitarian crisis", and has urgently called on the
international community and donor countries to offer their support.
But until support comes, many here will have to live without access to treatment.
Daahir Owre, an elderly man from Daynile district, west of Mogadishu,
said he was unable to get antibiotics for his wife's leg infection at
the Daynile Hospital because the nurses told him that they had run out
of the drugs.
"I don't know what I am going to do now. I had to walk five
kilometres to get here but I cannot get medicine for my family because
there are no supplies at the centre," Owre told IPS as he walked away.