Fadumo Osman gave birth a week ago at the new village clinic in Dhagahyale, 55 km south of Guriel, in this remote part of central Somalia’s Galmudug region.
She told Radio Ergo she was pleased with the quality of the care she received right there in her village, free of charge. In her two previous deliveries she had uncontrolled bleeding and had to be taken on the agonisingly long journey to a hospital in Guriel town
“I went into labour five nights ago, they gave me an injection and some pills to prevent the bleeding and control the pain. It was a quick and easy delivery,” Fadumo said.
“I’m relieved from the hassle of travelling in pain, I thank God for giving us care so close to home!”
The clinic, in a humble temporary building made of local materials, is serving the 350 families in Dhagahley and countless others from 18 nearby villages. It offers free medicines, a testing lab, and a bed for patients needing to be admitted.
Dr Farah Jeelle Abdijibar, who lives in Dhagahley, was among the group of local Guriel doctors who set up the clinic, at a cost of $700. They had been besieged by requests from rural residents, who had to travel to Guriel even for simple ailments that could easily be treated.
“In the first few days of opening the clinic, we treated more than 40 patients. That is high for a rural clinic, equivalent to the number of people treated at the main hospital in town,” Dr Farah said.
“We are receiving patients from a number of villages, some as far as seven, 15 or even 30 kilometres away.”
The exterior of the clinic looks like a makeshift shed, made of wood, thatch and other local materials.
Ahmed Abdi Warsame, head of the Dhagahyale village administration, explained that the residents had proposed building the clinic using corrugated iron, but the doctors advised that it would generate too much heat for patients to be comfortable. The medicines also needed a cool storage place.
The plan is to build a permanent stone structure, and the administration has been collecting contributions, in the form of livestock, from the villagers.
“The clinic has been really helpful, especially in treating snake bites which are a big problem in this area. Rarely would a night pass without someone being bitten by a snake. This clinic has come to our rescue inthose cases and with a number of other ailments,” Ahmed said.
Dr Farah Jeelle, the resident doctor, said that local youth are being trained as health care assistants to handle emergencies, such as giving life-saving injections.