(Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on the blog site of International Relief & Development.)
Banadir Hospital is a women and children’s hospital, run by Somali doctors. The hospital has no regular source of funding, but receives periodic donations and supplies from several different sources, including the governments of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Germany.Some acquaintances in Mogadishu mentioned that a number of internally displaced people (IDPs) were going to Banadir Hospital for medical care. Together with a few other non-governmental organizations (NGOs), I took the opportunity to visit Banadir, talk with the doctors, and learn how best we might be able to support the important and life-saving work they are doing at the hospital.
My first observation when we arrived was that that there were so many patients and not nearly enough hospital staff. The doctor I spoke to, Dr. Mohamed, said that the hospital doesn’t have the capacity to care for all the ill, but it is doing its best to treat those in critical conditions. The hospital staff have been busy around the clock, and you can see from their tired eyes that the work is wearing on them.
The hospital itself is old and gloomy. It smells like an old medicine cabinet. There are so many people all over the hospital, along the gate, the backside, the hallways, and the rooms. It is so full that people are being treated in the hallways.
One thing that really astonished me during the visit was that I didn’t hear the children cry, even though there were a lot of them. One of the staff told me that they were too weak to cry or make noises. It was devastating.
Many emotions went through me on the sight of this sea of desperate and sick people. I felt a sense of helplessness that I never felt before. I admit that I also felt a surge of anger because I am convinced that this [East African famine] is a man-made one and it could have been easily prevented. In my humble view, there is no valid reason that can justify the human condition that led to the current situation.
Sagal Mohamoud is IRD’s Country Representative in Somalia.