Skip to main content

You are here


Médecins Sans Frontières currently has no active programs in Somalia.

Why were we there?

  • Armed conflict
  • Endemic/epidemic disease
  • Healthcare exclusion

Our work

  • Two decades of civil war have inflicted violence, displacement and loss of livelihood on the people of Somalia. Médecins Sans Frontières continues to work in areas controlled by the government as well as areas held by opposition groups.
  • Most of the country’s healthcare infrastructure has been destroyed, leaving only one doctor in the country for every quarter of a million people.
  • The nutritional crisis of 2011 in south and central Somalia further damaged coping mechanisms and caused massive internal displacement as people searched for food and security.
  • At the beginning of 2012, Médecins Sans Frontières decided to put on hold any opening of new non-emergency projects in Somalia until the safe release of its two colleagues, Blanca Thiebaut and Montserrat Serra, abducted from the Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya on 13 October 2011 and held against their will in Somalia.


Basic healthcare in the capital

  • Access to food, water, sanitation, health services and shelter is irregular and insufficient in Mogadishu, where an estimated 369,000 displaced people are living. Attacks, bombs and targeted assassinations have decreased in number, but remain frequent.
  • Children are suffering particularly and there is an urgent need for preventive activities such as vaccinations, as well as lifesaving emergency care. Médecins Sans Frontières supports a children’s hospital in the city, running a general ward, inpatient feeding programme and isolation units for measles and acute watery diarrhoea. Two mobile teams travelled further afield to carry out consultations, referrals and routine vaccinations.
  • On the outskirts of the city, Médecins Sans Frontières manages 60 beds in Daynile hospital. Medical services include an emergency department, surgery, intensive care and paediatric inpatient units, a nutrition programme and maternity services.
  • At the end of March 2012, fighting between pro-government forces and Al-Shabaab drove Médecins Sans Frontières to close the hospital. It was reopened in September 2012.
  • Three health clinics located in Mogadishu’s Wadajir, Dharkenley and Yaaqshiid districts provide medical consultations and care for pregnant women and children to help meet the increase in need as displaced people have arrived in the areas.
  • A mobile nutrition programme also visited six camps for the displaced in Wadajir. Teams also ran medical clinics in the city’s Rajo, Refinery and Jasiira camps and opened two more in Howlwadaag and Xadaar in March and April, respectively. In July and August, the clinics in Rajo, Refinery and Howlwadaag were closed. 


Malnutrition in the Afgooye corridor

  • The Afgooye corridor, linking Mogadishu and the town of Afgooye, is an increasingly dense settlement of displaced people.
  • Médecins Sans Frontières supports the 30-bed community hospital in Afgooye, the only health facility covering the needs of 180 villages. The hospital offers outpatient consultations, emergency services, maternity care and an outpatient feeding programme.
  • They vaccinated children against polio, diphtheria, tetanus, measles and pertussis (whooping cough), and all children under five years of age were given albendazole, to treat worms, as well as vitamin A. Staff returned in December for follow-up.


Comprehensive care in Dinsor

  • In Bay region, Médecins Sans Frontières facilities in Dinsor offer inpatient care, a nutrition programme, maternity services, treatment for kala azar, a tuberculosis (TB) programme and outpatient services.


Mother and child programmes in Middle Shabelle

  • During the second half of 2012, Jowhar and Balcad were on the front line of conflict and access became a challenge for delivery of supplies and supervision visits.
  • Médecins Sans Frontières staff support the maternity hospital in Jowhar, and offer mother and child healthcare, including nutrition and vaccinations, through four clinics in Kulmis, Bulo Sheik, Gololey and Mahadaay. TB is also treated in Mahadaay and Gololey.
  • Médecins Sans Frontières runs a mother and child programme at the clinic in Balcad.


Galkayo North and South

  • Médecins Sans Frontières has worked in the divided city of Galkayo, capital of Mudug province, for over a decade. Teams support paediatric and TB services in a clinic in Galkayo North, which is located in Puntland, a self-declared independent republic. A new maternity ward was opened in the clinic in December 2012.
  • In Galkayo South, administered by the state of Galmudug, a hospital team receives patients from both sides of the regional armed conflict. Comprehensive services include emergency, maternity and paediatric care, TB treatment and surgery.


Lower Juba

  • Médecins Sans Frontières continues to run essential health programmes throughout Lower Juba region. In Marere, a hospital offers outpatient services, reproductive health and emergency obstetrics, surgery and TB treatment.
  • Mobile teams travelled to sites where displaced people had recently settled, offering basic healthcare and treatment for malnutrition.
  • In Jilib, a health centre housing a measles isolation unit and providing cholera treatment offers services around the clock.
  • Médecins Sans Frontières also runs an inpatient nutrition programme for children under five in the port town of Kismayo, the capital of the region. The team opened emergency treatment units in response to outbreaks of measles and cholera during the year.


Programme closures

  • In May 2012, due to worsening security conditions, Médecins Sans Frontières made the difficult decision to close its basic healthcare programmes in Dhusa Mareb and Hinder.
  • The 108-bed hospital in Belet Weyne, Hiraan region, was closed at the end of the year. Activities in Guri El hospital, Galguduud region, were handed back to the community in January 2013.


For the latest news on where we work visit:

Médecins Sans Frontières has worked in the country since 1991 to 2013.