More than 6,000 patients were admitted to Keysaney and Medina hospitals last year, compared with 5,000 in 2009 and around 2,800 the previous year. Both Keysaney Hospital, run by the Somali Red Crescent Society, and the community-based Medina Hospital are supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).“Doctors and nurses at these facilities are working tirelessly to deal with the constant influx of patients,” said Pascal Mauchle, who heads the ICRC’s Somalia delegation. “It seems that the fighting has become more frequent. Severely wounded people arrive at all hours – even in the middle of the night. We are especially concerned about the large number of civilians, including women and children, suffering from weapon-related injuries.”
Around 2,300 women and children were admitted to Keysaney and Medina hospitals last year with war injuries – nearly 40 per cent of all such casualties. Many had been caught up in fierce fighting pitting Transitional Federal Government forces, backed by the African Union, against groups such as Al Shabaab.
The ICRC and the Somali Red Crescent again remind all warring parties to comply with international humanitarian law, in particular by taking constant care in the conduct of military operations to spare the civilian population. The warring parties must distinguish at all times between civilians and fighters. They must not employ indiscriminate means and methods of warfare. Medical staff, hospitals and clinics must be respected and protected in all circumstances.
Both Keysaney and Medina hospitals treat all patients, regardless of their clan and religious or political background. The ICRC supplies the hospitals with surgical equipment and medicines, pays for running costs such as salaries and fuel purchases, and also helps to repair and upgrade facilities where necessary.