Experts expect the facility to help reduce deaths among mothers and children.
Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, will soon have an ultra-modern hospital, which health experts hope will go a long way in addressing mothers and child deaths and depressing statistics associated with poor health care.
The facility, a façade of beauty in this country that is working to regain normalcy, is a product of increased and deepening relationship between the Somali and Turkish governments. The relationship has seen expansive social projects being constructed in Somalia through aid from Turkey.
The hospital, which will specifically cater for mothers and children, is beautifully located at the sea shore in Mogadishu. Its serenity gives visitors and locals a glimpse of what the future holds for the country if peace prevails.
The hospital, being built by the Turkish Humanitarian Agency, Yardimeli, is the first of its kind in sophistication. It has a bed capacity of 100. That will make it the biggest such facility in the country. It has a Turkish design and taste, from the roof to the floors.
“We are constructing
an ultra-modern health
centre. The standard of
service and the equipment
is expected to be of
Mehmet Citil, Yardimeli Somalia Coordinator
“You see those tubes under the roof…? Those are for oxygen. And that room with metallic plates being lined inside will be the radiology room. We are constructing an ultra-modern health centre. The standard of service and the equipment is expected to be of international standards,” observes Mr Mehmet Citil, the Yardimeli Somalia coordinator.
The country, which is currently undergoing reconstruction after more than two decades of war, virtually needs to build everything from the ground.
The destruction of the health sector, lack of water and poor nutrition has made Somalia one of the countries with the highest child mortality rates in the world.
Reports by the UN indicate that one out of 10 children die before seeing their first birthday, and one in 12 mothers die out of pregnancy complications.
The construction of the hospital is therefore an important step in addressing, health care, one of the most critical needs in the country.
“Children were dying from easily preventable diseases and infections. Diarrhoea and simple neonatal disorders led to the deaths of many children here and we thought maybe we should do something about that,” says Citil.
The hospital, whose construction started in 2012, will be ready in the next three months or so. Its construction should have ended a while back, were it not for political instability.
When fully operational, the hospital will employ both local and international doctors. It will have a medical laboratory, a surgical theatre, a delivery room and an incubation unit.
Apart from subsidised drugs, the hospital will offer mobile health clinics that will move around Somalia to provide free medical consultation. There will also be eye surgery collaborations between the hospital and National Eye Centre, where specialists will be flown in from Turkey to treat eye problems.
The dire health situation in Somalia suggests that the country needs more such facilities. Citil concurs, but maintains that starting with Mogadishu is important due to the high population.
“All efforts are pulling towards offering international standards of full medical care to the mothers and children in this country, starting with those in Mogadishu. If need be, we will move to other areas in the health sector that require our assistance. For now, it is mothers and children that are on our minds,” he explains.
So will it be free? Not really. Citil observes that although the hospital is a donation from the Turkish people to the people of Somalia, they will have to charge a subsidised fee for both drugs and doctors’ consultation. The money raised will be used to run the hospital.
Unicef Somalia reports that “while comprehensive information is not available, it is believed that the leading causes of infant and child mortality are illnesses such as pneumonia (24 per cent), diarrhoea (19 per cent), and measles (12 per cent) and neonatal disorders (17 per cent).”
The health care scheme of the country has weakened over time due to political and economic changes. As the government’s institutional capacity strengthens and security improves, many private investors are now shifting their focus to quality and specialised care.