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AMISOM Uganda military contingent holds free medical camp in Mogadishu

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Mogadishu, February 6 2017 – The Ugandan military contingent serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on Sunday held a free medical camp at Medina Hospital in Mogadishu as part of activities to mark the Ugandan Army Week.

Residents suffering from various ailments received free checkup, drugs and medical advice from military doctors who worked together with staff of Medina Hospital to treat the patients who turned out in large numbers.

February 6, also known as ‘Tarehe Sita,’ is celebrated annually as the day President Yoweri Museveni launched the armed struggle, in 1981, that brought the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government to power. This year’s ‘Tarehe Sita’ theme is; ‘the people and the security forces in a patriotic partnership.’

The day is preceded by a week of activities referred to as the ‘Army Week,’ during which the Ugandan military carries out charity work in communities.

The Uganda People’s Defence Forces also cleaned the hospital compound, repaired the leaking sewerage system that drains water from the hospital’s laundry section and fumigated breeding grounds for malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

Major Robert Kamara, the Spokesperson for the Ugandan Contingent, said the medical camp had given the troops an opportunity to treat those in need of urgent health care.

“We are marking the defence forces week in Uganda, as a result, we who are not in Uganda, but in AMISOM, normally continue with the culture of keeping in touch with the people. We decided to come here at Medina Hospital first of all to handle the challenges the people go through,” said Major Kamara.

According to the Medina Hospital management, the medical institution which was set up in 1968 with support from Germany and Italy, receives the largest number of war casualties, accounting for more than 90 per cent of admissions. The hospital is supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Col. Dr. James Kiyengo, who led the military medical team, said the doctors treated various ailments among them dental and eye problems.

“We have treated patients with dental problems. This included (tooth) extraction, scaling and even treating other illnesses in the mouth. We also treated patients with eye conditions. There was a big number of patients with eye conditions. This shows that there is a gap in specialised treatment in this hospital,” noted Col. Dr. Kiyengo.

Abdi Omar, one of the patients who received treatment, thanked the Ugandan contingent for organizing the free medical camp, saying it had helped many who had no access to specialised treatment.

“I got the medication for the ailment I was diagnosed with. That’s why I came here. I was attended to and I will take the medicines that were prescribed to me and I thank them very much,” said Mr. Omar.

Prof. Mohamed Yusuf Hassan, the Director General of Medina Hospital hailed the support the medical institution had received from AMISOM, saying the ongoing partnership had enabled the medical camp to be held in the hospital premises.

“It’s amazing what they have done today in the hospital. There are many things that needed a lot of money to repair, which we did not have, but they (AMISOM troops) have repaired them. They have repaired our sewerage system and cleaned many places that were impossible for us to clean. They also did great outpatient work by seeing many patients who came for treatment. There were specialists among them ENT (Ear Nose and Throat), ophthalmology, internal medicine and surgery among others. They have seen a lot of patients who had gathered at the hospital. We thank AMISOM,” observed Prof. Mohamed.