Responding to tuberculosis
MSF teams in Mudug hospital are also working to reduce the burden of tuberculosis (TB), a disease that spreads easily in overcrowded living conditions, such as in the camps for displaced people in Galkayo. In Somalia, the diagnosis and treatment of TB is often unavailable or is prone to interruption, which can cause drug-resistance.
Currently there are 172 patients for both drug-susceptible and drug-resistant TB enrolled in the treatment programme, while in the first half of 2019 almost 100 patients successfully completed their treatment. Despite the achievements, there are challenges. Nur Ahmed Nur, who has managed the TB ward since its inception, says that patients defaulting from medication can be a problem. To help prevent this, the team works with the community and encourages patients to bring a relative with them to support them throughout the treatment.
“Following them up will help us ensure that all patients receive their drugs every single day,” says Nur. “This in turn helps avoid the development of drug-resistant TB.” Fardowsa Hussein Hassan, 40, from north Galkayo, caught pulmonary TB. She successfully completed her treatment in June, but returns to the hospital for regular check-ups. “I was very weak and sick when I was brought to the hospital in January,” says Fardowsa. “I was coughing for weeks and, when doctors took my sputum to the laboratory, I tested positive for TB. I was immediately put on medication. Six months later, I have now tested negative. I thank the hospital management and all those who support the TB department.”
MSF has worked in Somalia and Somaliland since 1991. In 2013, it was forced to withdraw after a series of violent attacks against its staff. Our teams resumed treating patients four years later, in May 2017, in recognition of the enormous unmet health needs of the population. MSF provides secondary health and inpatient care in hospitals, runs mobile clinics with focus on populations on the move such as refugees, IDPs and migrants and is currently working in Somaliland (Hargeisa, Borama, Burao, Berbera, Las Anod), Puntland (Galkayo North) and South-West (Baidoa). MSF relies on an ‘in-out’ strategy in Jubaland region, with a specific focus on ambulatory nutrition care and doing as well emergency response. In the coming weeks, MSF will start implementing lifesaving activities in some departments of South Galkayo hospital, in Galmudug state.