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Crucial Medical Aid Enables Primary Care in Somalia

  • June 12, 2012

An Emergency Medical Module, shipped to Somalia in late 2011, contained urgently-needed medicines that helped medical units deliver primary health care to 6,273 sick and injured people.

The timing of the AmeriCares shipment made a life-saving difference for thousands of people living in the vulnerable Mudug region. AmeriCares partner Relief International, was able to continue primary health care at three static medical units and three outreach facilities serving both refugees and people living in remote villages.

The supply of antibiotics and other crucial medicines sent by AmeriCares replenished dwindling stock, enabling medical staff to help thousands — including 2,437 children — in the last quarter of 2011. Enough medicines remain to care for an additional 7,000 patients.

Patients were treated for a variety of conditions, including malaria, skin diseases, respiratory infections, acute watery diarrhea, anemia, burns, infections and injuries.

Stories of hope

The shipment was part of AmeriCares large-scale famine response in the Horn of Africa, where the humanitarian crisis is far from over. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis still live in crowded settlements with limited health care options. For those who have returned home, health resources are strained, and medicines are in dangerously low supply.


Halima, a 27-year old mother of four from Garacad, sustained a second degree burn after boiling water to cook food for her family. She immediately came to the medical post in her village, supported with the assistance of AmeriCares, where she received treatment and recovered. Before the medical post opened, Halima would have had to travel 37 miles to receive such basic health services.


Zahra, a 29-year old mother of three, living in the Margaga settlement, developed a massive skin disease which affected her entire body, including her face. Fortunately for Zahra, the medical unit at the refugee settlement had the right drugs to treat her condition, and she made a full recovery. She was grateful for the medical care she received, especially since the next closest facility was located 30 miles from the settlement.

AmeriCares responded to the catastrophic drought and famine in the Horn of Africa with a strategic delivery pipeline of medicines, supplies, and nutritional supplements, focusing on enabling primary care in settlements and shelters. In addition to delivering aid to settlements, AmeriCares is helping partners deliver primary health care to drought affected communities so that families do not have to make the perilous journey to refugee camps.

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