27 February 2013, Nairobi, Kenya – Today, HE Ghorm Said Malhan, Ambassador of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Kenya, handed over a variety of medical teaching aids to Dr Abdirizak Hassan Ali, Professor of Anatomy and Surgery, on behalf of Benadir University, Mogadishu, Somalia at the WHO country office in Nairobi. The anatomical teaching aids will expand the limited educational resources and learning materials available to the students of the School of Medicine of Benadir University.
“For more than a decade after the beginning of the civil war in 1990, no institution in southern Somalia offered higher education opportunities to the youth willing to pursue medical studies,” said Dr Abdirizak Hassan Ali, who is also Co-chair of the Board of Trustee of Benadir University and director of Benadir Hospital. “Alarmed by the unavailability of medical professionals in the country, a group of Somali physicians decided to start the School of Medicine.”
Since its establishment in September 2002, Benadir University has become one of the leading academic institutions in Somalia, with almost 650 graduates, including 152 medical doctors. It currently offers seven degree programmes to 2345 students, with over 1000 studying medicine alone. Recently the medical faculty has started general surgery and trauma residency programmes.
“The availability of doctors and qualified health workers in Somalia is extremely limited. Investing in medical education is crucial to create a future generation of qualified doctors, capable of providing quality healthcare in Somalia,” said Dr Marthe Everard, WHO Representative for Somalia. “I hope that these students will lay the foundations of a new era in the medical profession in Somalia and will help the country to face the great challenges and needs in the health sector.”
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has opened a permanent office in Mogadishu,” affirmed HE Ghorm Said Malhan. “Under the emblem Kingdom of Humanity, Saudi Arabia stood by Somalia since its independence. Humanitarian support is provided through international, regional and bilateral agencies”. During the humanitarian crisis in Somalia in 2011, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia stepped in with a substantial contribution to the World Health Organization, to mitigate the impact of the health emergency. Thanks to Saudi Arabia support, almost 4 million people were covered with emergency health supplies for 12 months; 2.3 million children were vaccinated in emergency vaccination campaigns; 720,000 household were protected against malaria and almost 1 million consultations were reported from over 200 health facilities.