The first hospital ever to open in Banadiiradley, in southern Mudug region, has been seeing hundreds of patients in its first month of operating. Many would otherwise have died or had to travel on rough roads to the nearest health centre in Galkayo, 75 km away.
The hospital was built and is being run as a joint effort by the diaspora and local residents. It has been serving the health needs of the pastoralist communities devastated by the drought.
Everyone in Bandiiradley knows of someone who died in the past due to lack of medical attention, or someone who died on the road trying to get to the nearest hospital.
After seven previous births, Leyla Mohamed Abdi is feeling more confident than before as she approaches the birth of her next baby. She plans to deliver her baby in the new hospital, which is close to her house. She said she has access to good pre-natal care and the doctors are constantly monitoring her and her baby.
Last year, she had to travel for urgent treatment for bleeding and malnutrition and spent six days in a hospital in Galkayo. She is now visiting her local hospital every two days.
“I have recovered from my general body weakness. They prescribed some medication for me, and I still take it. I am getting better and better every day,” she said.
Leyla believes the hospital’s maternity facilities will eliminate some major problems women encounter during childbirth. She is no longer worried about losing blood in the hands of the traditional midwives she used to have to rely on.
Travelling for medical services is something most people in this part of Mudug cannot afford, especially after the ravages of drought. Leyla spent $100 every time she travelled to Galkayo, where the treatment she received was free. She had to borrow the money or ask her relatives.
The director of Bandiiradley hospital, Said Abdi Ahmed, told Radio Ergo they had treated 1,244 patients since the doors opened. Patients included young and old with a variety of diseases and conditions, including measles, malnutrition, diarrhoea, animal bites, gunshot wounds, as well as pregnant mothers. The hospital has four doctors and 12 other staff. It is equipped with an emergency unit, maternity section, blood bank and in-patient ward. Four people’s lives have already been saved by access to the blood bank.
Two of Habibo Adan Huurshe’s children were treated at the hospital in the past two weeks. Habibo was glad they did not have to travel as on previous occasions. Last November she had to hire transport twice, when five children were sick with measles and diarrhoea. She borrowed $120 and still needs to pay $90 back. “The transport has been a constant worry for us and we just could not afford it,” she said.
Around 4,000 families will benefit from the hospital services in Bandiiradley and 23 constituent villages. Towards the end of last year, seven children died of measles after failing to get medical attention.