Other Somali projects continue, but MSF aid in Somali capital reduced by half Following the tragic killings of two MSF field staff, Philippe Havet and physician Karel Keiluhu in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Dec. 29, 2011, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) sees itself forced to end all activities in the Hodan district of the capital, including the closure of two separate 120-bed medical facilities for the treatment of malnutrition, measles and the treatment of cholera. The closure of activities in this district reduces by half the assistance MSF is providing in Mogadishu. For now, 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 where the presence of our medical teams is genuinely lifesaving every day,” says Christopher Stokes, MSF general director, “but the brutal assassination of our colleagues in Hodan makes it impossible for us to continue working in this district of Mogadishu.” In Hodan, 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 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 Oct. 13, 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 in Dolo Ado, Ethiopia.