“Ultimately, civilians in Somalia will pay the highest cost,” said Dr. Karunakara. “Much of the Somali population has never known the country without war or famine. Already receiving far less assistance than is needed, the armed groups’ targeting of humanitarian aid and civilians leaders’ tolerance of these abuses has effectively taken away what little access to medical care is available to the Somali people.”
MSF will be closing its medical programs across Somalia, including in the capital Mogadishu and the suburbs of Afgooye and Daynille, as well as in Balad, Dinsor, Galkayo, Jilib, Jowhar, Kismayo, Marere, and Burao. More than 1,500 staff provided a range of services, including free primary health care, malnutrition treatment, maternal health, surgery, epidemic response, immunization campaigns, water, and relief supplies. 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.
Throughout its 22-year history in Somalia, MSF staff have known intimately just how great the needs are of the Somali population. While MSF remains committed to addressing these tremendous needs through medical care and humanitarian assistance, all actors in Somalia must demonstrate through their actions a willingness and ability to facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance to the Somali people and respect for the safety of the humanitarian aid workers who risk their lives to care for them.