Located 325 miles south of Mogadishu on the Somali coast, Kismayo is a port city and the commercial capital of the Jubaland region. Kismayo has been continuously occupied since the Middle Ages, beginning as a small fishing village and evolving into a key hub for the region’s cattle trade and commercial shipping. Starting in 1991, Kismayo changed hands numerous times during Somalia’s civil war and was the site of numerous battles. In 2006, Islamist militants seized the city, remaining in control for the next six years until, in September 2012, the Somali National Army (SNA) and African Union forces re-captured the city from al-Shabaab (AS) insurgents.
Today, the fledgling Somali national government, Jubaland regional government, and the Somali National Security Forces are working to root out remaining AS elements, consolidate security gains, and return governance and services to the area. With advice and assistance from anti-ASCoalition military partners, great strides have been made but much more work remains.
A key need in Kismayo identified by the SNA and their Coalition Force advisers is improved health care. Years of neglect while under extremist control, have led to the deterioration of health and sanitation infrastructure, and drought and impending famine are increasing health risks in Jubaland. The lack of food has dramatically weakened people’s resistance to disease while the drought and subsequent thirst drive the locals to use unsuitable, dirty, and contaminated water sources, spreading water-borne disease. Additionally, due to al-Shabaab activity in the area, trauma and associated injuries are common.
In order to address these critical health needs and increase regional stability while supporting local government priorities and systems, the SNA and their Coalition counterparts are planning a continuing education medical seminar for local health providers. This event, the first of its kind in the region, will provide local doctors and nurses with better skills and information to combat the unique and growing health needs of their community.
With your support, Spirit of America can provide much-needed funding to the Somali National Army to host this 2-day event. This support, along with US military and United Nations instructors, will make this important event a reality and dramatically improve health outcomes in a strategically important city and region.