September 1 2008

Somalia: SOS mother seriously injured and former SOS child killed in separate attacks

01/09/2008 - At 10.00 am local time on Sunday, 31 August, fighting broke out in the Medina area of Mogadishu where some of the SOS families have been relocated.

Photo: Alexander Gabriel
The SOS mothers in Mogadishu are deeply committed to the wellbeing of their children - Photo: A. Gabriel

Hearing the shooting SOS mother Fahamu hurried to get her children inside and in the process was hit by a stray bullet in the chest. She was assisted by another co-worker, but due to the heavy fighting it was 15 minutes before they could leave for the hospital.

Once there, an SOS youth leader donated blood and Fahamu underwent surgery on Sunday afternoon. She is now conscious and on the road to recovery. The Medina Hospital is an ICRC hospital in the south of Mogadishu. The SOS Hospital is in the north of the town and is often inaccessible due to a large military presence in the area.

The SOS families were evacuated from the SOS Children's Village (which is just opposite the SOS Hospital) last December, after the village was hit by mortar fire and an SOS family assistant was killed.

In a separate incident a former SOS youth was shot dead last Thursday evening (28 August) in Afgoye, 22 km from Mogadishu. He was visiting an SOS satellite clinic at the time when he was approached by thieves who wanted to take his mobile phone. Resisting them, he was shot in the neck and died at the SOS clinic shortly afterwards. Alas was 26 and, following his disengagement from the children's village, had been employed as a gardener at the SOS Hospital for two years.

Photo: SOS Archives
The SOS Clinics in Mogadishu and in Afgoye offer essential medical care mainly for mothers and children - Photo: SOS Archives

In April Dr Abdullahi and his staff opened the SOS satellite clinic in Afgoye, where there are many internally displaced people. They began with mother and child health care and an outpatients department, until Dr Abdullahi met the woman who had to give up her baby as payment to her midwife for delivering it. Realising her case was the tip of the iceberg, Dr. Abdullahi opened a delivery room where women could deliver their babies and the babies could be vaccinated, all free of charge.

The Afgoye clinic is run by a mobile team who spend 24 hours in the SOS Hospital in Mogadishu and the next 24 hours in the field in Afgoye. In Afgoye they see between 150 and 200 patients a day and on Saturdays they often have 300.