On October 14, a double truck bombing exploded in Mogadishu, Somalia, which injured 300 civilians and killed approximately 277 people. First responders and hospital staff were quickly overwhelmed as most civilians were barely recognizable from their burns and needed immediate medical services.

In Mogadishu, the two major hospitals closest to the explosion site are Banadir Hospital and Medina Hospital. The Federal Government of Somalia classifies Banadir hospital to be the only ‘National Referral Hospital’ in the country, which entails they offer maternal and child health facilities and services. Medina hospital treats “several hundred war-wounded patients and expectant mothers every month”, and is focused more on trauma and emergency services.

When Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo donated blood to the Medina hospital, he called upon locals to do the same so the hospital’s supply would increase and contribute to saving the severely injured civilians. This ignited a large community response of locals waiting outside of hospitals to donate their blood.

A United Nations field hospital in Mogadishu
A United Nations field hospital in Mogadishu (Wikimedia/Sgt. LeVern J. McQueen)

This event tested the resilience of hospitals in Mogadishu as they were each packed with severely injured people requiring medical assistance. Some were injured beyond the treatment capacity of hospitals in Mogadishu, which compelled the Turkish government to provide a plane for the evacuation of 40 critically conditioned patients to Turkey for advanced medical treatment.

According to the World Health Organization, the current standard of health in Somalia is weak because their healthcare infrastructure is not operationally equipped to serve the health demands of their poverty stricken population. Therefore, when terrorist attacks or natural disasters cause mass casualties, the system nearly collapses requiring international aid to drive the recovery process.

In terms of medical response to the truck bombings, international aid efforts included the International Medical Corps doctors and nurses, who “within hours of the bombing, provided medical services and deployed a 14-person Emergency Rapid Response Team – along with critical medicines and medical supplies – to a Mogadishu hospital”. By having an emergency standby capacity within Somalia, the organization has the capacity to contribute trauma care and distribute medical supplies to hospitals in times of crisis.


Sources and Further Reading:

Mogadishu bombings kill ‘unprecedented number of civilians’ – CNN

International Medical Corps Responds to Deadliest Terrorist Attack in Mogadishu in Decades – ReliefWeb

Somalia: Major Hospitals in Mogadishu (as of Mar 2010) – ReliefWeb

Death toll rises to 276 in Somalia’s worst bomb attack – Los Angeles Times

About Banadir Hospital – Banadir Hospital

Country Cooperation Strategy for WHO and Somalia – World Health Organization