Sun. Apr 14th, 2024

Every Wednesday and Sunday, patients stream into the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), Level-II hospital in Baidoa, southwest of the Somalia capital, Mogadishu. They are here to take advantage of a weekly free medical camp organised by ATMIS Ethiopia National Defence Forces (ENDF); troops stationed in the Southwest State of Somalia.

Among the beneficiaries is Rukia Mohamed Issack, a middle-aged mother who has been nursing a recurrent kidney infection.

“I came here because I experienced kidney pain. After tests, it was determined that I had an infection. I’ve been prescribed medication, and I’m hopeful of recovering soon,” says Rukia, who is making a return visit to the facility. 

Dozens of patients have so far been treated at the hospital since the ATMIS ENDF troops launched the weekly Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) initiative in February this year. 

According to ATMIS medics, the free medical care is offered simultaneously in Baidoa and other ENDF Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) in Diinsoor, Bardhere, Qansadhere, Burdhubo, Garbaharey, and Berdale spread across the Bay, Bakool, and Gedo regions of Southwest state. 

The patients are mostly women and children from IDP camps. Somali National Army (SNA) personnel and local administration officials also benefit from the free medical treatment. 

During a recent free medical camp, Adan Nishow, a resident of the Masika IDP camp in Baidoa brought in his wife who could not afford treatment for a severe toothache. 

“My wife had a severe toothache after a botched extraction. We had visited several other medical facilities, but we were only given painkillers. After coming here, ATMIS doctors extracted the molars, and gave us medication, we are grateful to the ATMIS doctors,” he said joyfully. 

According to Nishow, many members of his community desperately require dental services but cannot afford the high cost of treatment. He asked ATMIS to hold free dental camps to alleviate their suffering. 

Community leaders hail ATMIS efforts 

Mohamed Issack Ali, the Deputy Commissioner of Security and Policing in Baidoa district, who heads the team tasked with identifying needy patients, said the weekly medical camp is a welcome relief. 

“We have qualified doctors who treat many people, especially the internally displaced. Many patients have been diagnosed and treated,” he said. 

ATMIS medics and commanders pledge continued support 

The Head of the ATMIS Level II hospital in Baidoa, Maj Solomon Kassa Getahun, said they prioritise women and children, who are the most disadvantaged. 

“Today we treated close to 23 patients with various conditions ranging from cholera, diabetes, and hypertension. We will continue to do so twice a week,” said Maj Getahun. 

“The hospital is well-equipped with medicines and equipment. We have no excuse not to provide quality treatment. So far, we have treated many people with various ailments. ATMIS is willing to help the community relieve their struggles, especially the less fortunate,” he said. 

ATMIS Sector Three, Deputy Commander, Col Seboka Bekelle, said the ATMIS Ethiopia troops not only provide security, but also contribute to the well-being of the Somali people. 

“We have treated the less privileged members of society and the Somali National Army troops. We will continue to offer free services to those in need,” said Col. Bekelle. 

He attributed the success of the CIMIC activities to the positive working relationship between ATMIS troops and the Southwest State administration. Apart from free medical treatment, ATMIS troops in Southwest State also distribute food and non-food relief items during drought and flood situations. 

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).

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