© Finbarr O'Reilly


Three years after withdrawing our teams from Somalia, we plan to resume work in the country in April 2017

We are constantly assessing whether conditions will allow our staff to operate safely, and our patients and health facilities to be respected and protected of violent attacks.

In April 2017, we intend for Somali and international MSF staff to start providing support to Mudug regional hospital, Galkayo North, in Somalia's Puntland region.

This should include support to the hospital's emergency room, in-patient department, paediatric ward and therapeutic feeding programme.

We began working in Somalia in 1991 but we pulled out from the country in August 2013 following a series of extreme attacks on our staff.

At the time, we called upon the authorities, community leaders and other influential stakeholders in the Somali society to demonstrate through their actions willingness and ability to facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance to the Somali people and respect for the safety of the humanitarian aid workers who risk their lives to care for them.

Today, we reiterate the need to respect and support our medical mission in Somalia.

For these reasons, our return to Somalia will be subject to a careful approach, taking one step at a time. The planned MSF medical and humanitarian programmes in Puntland will be of a limited scale for now.

Our presence in Somalia, the scope of our programmes and the potential expansion of our activities to other regions in Somalia will depend on the acceptance, facilitation and active support received from the authorities and communities we serve.

MSF's work in Somalia: 2013

The following is an extract from our 2013 Activity Report

In August 2013, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) closed all of its projects in Somalia after 22 years of continuous operations.

Leaving Somalia was an extremely difficult decision to make.

A series of violent attacks on our personnel took place with the tacit acceptance – or active complicity – of armed groups and civilian authorities.

The minimal conditions necessary for operations were not respected, and hence we ceased supporting health facilities in Somalia by mid-September 2013, handing them over to government entities and humanitarian organisations where possible. 

In and around Mogadishu

Nine kilometres northwest of Mogadishu, in Dayniile, we supported a 60-bed hospital with an emergency room, operating theatre, intensive care unit, paediatric unit, feeding centre and maternity facilities.

The team performed 646 surgical procedures and over 8,272 consultations in 2013. Our 40-bed hospital in the Jaziira district of Mogadishu, which mostly catered to displaced populations, carried out some 25,700 consultations and 2,200 hospital admissions this year, and treated over 330 severely malnourished children.

To improve access to quality basic and specialist healthcare for children, we ran the only paediatric hospital in Mogadishu, in Hamar Weyne.

We also ran health clinics for displaced populations and residents in the Wadajir, Dharkenley and Yaaqshiid districts.

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Bay region

We began supporting Dinsor hospital in Bay region in 2002.

It is the main referral hospital for the entire region, and is especially active in providing maternity services and treating malnutrition, tuberculosis and kala azar (visceral leishmaniasis).

In 2013, the team at the 60-bed hospital performed 16,208 outpatient consultations, around 1,458 antenatal consultations, and treated more than 680 malnourished children.

The gates of Dinsor hospital. Somalia is the only country in which MSF staff are accompanied by armed guards.

Lower Shabelle region

The Afgooye district hospital serves displaced people and residents of the Afgooye Corridor with an outpatient and 30-bed inpatient department, emergency  room, maternity facility and an outpatient  feeding programme.

Between January  and September, the hospital conducted  11,408 medical consultations, admitted 738 patients to its wards and assisted the  delivery of 953 babies. The Qatar Red Crescent Society assumed support of the hospital following our withdrawal. 

Middle Shabelle region 

We provided outpatient care, maternal  and child health services, vaccinations and  nutritional support at the Jowhar maternity hospital and health centres in Kulmis, Bulo  Sheik, Gololey, Balcad and Mahaday. The Mahaday and Gololey facilities also treated TB.

Mudug region 

We ran projects in two referral hospitals in the divided city of Galkayo. In the Ministry of Health’s referral hospital in Galkayo North, we offered paediatric outpatient and inpatient care, maternity services,  feeding programmes and TB treatment. Our teams carried out 33,824 consultations in 2013.

In addition, we ran a satellite programme for TB treatment in Burtinle in Nugal region. 

In the hospital in Galkayo South, we provided surgery and paediatric care, maternity services, nutrition programmes, TB treatment and immunisations.

MSF staff attend to a malnourished child in Galkayo Hospital.

Middle Juba

Our hospital in the small rural town of Marere served as the referral hospital for the whole of Middle and Lower Juba, and Gedo regions, providing basic and specialist healthcare, TB treatment,  nutritional services and emergency obstetric care to a huge catchment population.

Lower Juba 

In the port city of Kismayo, we ran an inpatient nutrition programme for children under five, with special wards for those  suffering from measles and cholera.

This  facility opened during the nutritional crisis of 2011 and saw a steady stream of children thereafter: 5,183 received treatment between January and September 2013. The International Committee of the  Red Cross opened a similar structure at  Kismayo hospital in October to compensate for MSF’s withdrawal. 


We had been supporting the inpatient, maternity and surgical facilities of the 160-bed Burao hospital in the Togdheer  region of Somaliland since 2011. Prior to our withdrawal, we conducted 775 surgical interventions, admitted 1,602 people to  the inpatient department and assisted in  the birth of 720 babies. 

We also intervened in three prisons in Somaliland, carrying out medical consultations, improving water and sanitation  facilities and distributing relief supplies.  

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