New medical facility for Somali women and children

Qoryaale is a village of around 800 families, approximately 65km to the south of Burao city, in Somaliland. In 1989, during Somalia’s civil war, anti-tank mines were laid in the village. In March 2012, a local vehicle set off an anti-tank mine – luckily there were no fatalities.

Later that year, HALO began mechanical mine clearance operations in the area. By September 2013, we had returned over 2.5 hectares of land back to the local community. On the former minefield you can now find the first medical facility to serve women and children in the district. 

Mine clearance enabled the international non-profit organisation, Caritas, to build a Maternal and Child Health facility. Completed in June 2014, the facility includes an examination room, maternity ward and delivery room. A doctor and three nurses are on staff to tend to the needs of pregnant women, new mothers and children throughout the local area. 

At the time of construction, the facility was the only one of its kind throughout the 42 villages of the district. Previously the nearest Maternal and Child Health facility was situated more than 60km away in Burao. There was not access to timely, appropriate treatment for the female and infant population who were at significant risk from health issues arising out of commonly treated conditions. 

In the first month 350 local families were treated at the facility. The running of the MCH is funded by the government, while all equipment and medical supplies are donated by NGOs. The most commonly treated conditions range from Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs), to malnutrition and anaemia.

In 2014, The World Bank estimated that as many as 79% of births in rural areas of Somaliland are attended to by unskilled birth attendants, dramatically increasing health risks to both mother and child. Indeed, for every 100,000 live births occurring in the country, 1,040 women will die in labour (three times more than in neighbouring Ethiopia). 1 in 14 children will die before their first birthday. 

We are proud to be a part of the change that brought medical care to the women and children of Qoryaale. HALO is at the forefront of development. Our work not only saves lives through the removal of deadly explosives, but is often prerequisite to post-conflict reconstruction.