Somalia UN agency trains healthcare workers in trauma obstetric surgery

13 April 2010The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) is training trauma and emergency obstetric surgery workers in Mogadishu, the Somali capital where fighting between Government forces and their supporters and Islamic militant rebel groups killed or injured more than 900 people last month. The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) is training trauma and emergency obstetric surgery workers in Mogadishu, the Somali capital where fighting between Government forces and their supporters and Islamic militant rebel groups killed or injured more than 900 people last month.“This training is essential as its boosts the skill levels of the very health staff who see on almost a daily basis victims of the conflict, as well as expectant mothers needing emergency obstetric care,” said Omar Saleh, Emergency Preparedness and Humanitarian Action focal point for Somalia, and the WHO surgeon who trained the latest round of 33 doctors, nurses and midwives.“We were able to conduct this training successfully, despite the obvious security threats and resource constraints,” he added, according to a press release issued today by WHO.At least 3.2 million Somalis are affected by the country’s almost two decade-long humanitarian crisis. The UN estimates that 100,000 people were displaced from or within Mogadishu since the beginning of the year. Conditions are especially dangerous for pregnant women and infants. Some 1,400 women die per every 100,000 live births, and at least 86 out of 1,000 infants die before reaching their first birthday. In addition, nearly daily shooting and shelling between the various groups killed 30 people in March and wounded 900 others. Children under five years of age accounted for 10 per cent of the reported injuries, which included shrapnel and gunshot wounds, fractures and crush injuries.The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Mark Bowden, today expressed dismay over the continuing injury and death of civilians in the conflict, and called on all parties involved to comply with international humanitarian law to protect civilians against the indiscriminate use of arms.“I am deeply disturbed by the plight facing civilians in Mogadishu, who are caught amidst the warring parties. This latest incident follows on the heels of one of the most injurious months for Mogadishu residents,” said Mr. Bowden in a statement, referring to the deaths of 19 people and wounds to 55 others in the latest round of fighting.The continued fighting and lack of resources has strained the health-care system, as health workers are among the casualties of the violence, while others have fled the city.To fill the gap, WHO has tried to improve the skills of the health-care workers who remained. In the past year, the agency has trained over 100 workers in emergency medical services.“It shows that despite enormous challenges, the international humanitarian community is still making a difference for Somalis,” Mr. Saleh said. WHO and its health partners are seeking $46 million in the 2010 ConsolidatedAppeals Process for Somalia, to support further training, provide essential medical supplies, undertake monitoring and assess the health situation on the ground. As of last month, the appeal was only 8 per cent funded. read more

No formal complaints on most disappearances

“In addition Sri Lanka has also strengthened its legal process,” the Sri Lankan delegation added.Meanwhile a demonstration which was scheduled to take place in Colombo today by family members of those who had disappeared, organized by the convener of the Civil Monitoring Commission Mano Ganeshan, was cancelled after several people from the north who were scheduled to take part in the demonstration were prevented from proceeding to Colombo by the police late last night. (Colombo Gazette) The government informed the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) today that there have not been formal complaints for over 60 percent of those alleged to have disappeared in the country.In a statement issued during the interactive dialogue with the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, the government said that during the past year the Ministry of Defence has created a database to clarify cases referred by the working group. The government told the Council it has transmitted clarifications to 264 cases to the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. The government says it had established an inter-agency working group comprising representatives of the Ministry of Defence, External Affairs and the Attorney General’s Department to clarify the cases of alleged disappearances and to take follow up action as deemed necessary.The Sri Lankan delegation said it has taken multiple initiatives to address allegations of disappearances including by strengthening the State’s institutional framework to deal with all aspects of disappearances. “It is noteworthy that eighty percent of the cases under consideration date back to the pre-1990 period and that in relation to more than 60 percent of the cases no formal complaints have been lodged with the law enforcement authorities,” the Sri Lankan delegation said. read more