Supporting US Military Efforts to Improve Healthcare and Relationships in Somalia
Spirit of America recently provided support to a US Army civil affairs team working to promote peace and stability in Somalia. The team is taking an innovative approach and, with some help from SoA, just hosted an international medical conference in Mogadishu, the first such event in over 25 years. There are many grievances contributing to the instability in Somalia but improving the quality of healthcare in Mogadishu and throughout the country is a big first step.
The event brought together 100 young Somali doctors and nurses with civilian doctors from the U.S. and the United Nations. It was a great way to provide the Somali participants with continuing medical education (CME) so that they can maintain competence and learn about new developments in their field. CME is often required for western medical providers but is rarely, if ever, available in Somalia.
Seminar topics included trauma and infectious diseases, topics that are critically important given the security and sanitation environment in Mogadishu. Lectures were provided by an American doctor with extensive experience working with wounded warriors, trauma, and in austere environments, and by the Deputy Director of the UN Hospital in Mogadishu, Dr. Asha Omar.
In addition to providing much-needed instruction, the conference was designed to build relationships and rapport between an influential group of Somalis and the United States. This was certainly accomplished. The Civil Affairs Team Leader that organized the event stated, “The conference was a success! I have a lot of hope for the future of Somalia based on our interaction with the young doctors and nurses. They were so eager to learn and share their experiences with us. I am 100% confident that today’s event opened the door to future engagements.”
Somalia is a complex and unstable country but by addressing local needs and grievances, there is room for progress and peace to take hold, as this successful event demonstrates. You can help Spirit of America support efforts like this one and many other here.
Thank you, as always, for your support.
Africa Project Manager