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Somalia: after 20 years of conflict, Mogadishu's war-wounded treated in new operating theatre

07-06-2012 News Footage Ref. AV019N

A new operating theatre has opened at Keysaney hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia, to treat casualties of the conflict that has wracked the country for the past 20 years. The hospital is one of just two referral facilities in Somalia able to treat complex war wounds and it serves a very wide area.


The operating theatre, officially inaugurated in February 2012, separates patients with septic and non-septic wounds, resulting in significantly fewer cross-infections.  "We now have theatre A and theatre B", says Dr Ahmed, head surgeon at the hospital. "Theatre A is for the non-septic wounded and theatre B is for the unclean or septic wounded patients. Since we have started working in the new theatre, the number of cross-infections has reduced".

The new theatre was built by the International Committee of the Red Cross who, with the Somali Red Crescent Society, transformed an old prison into a hospital back in 1992. Before that time, the war-wounded needing surgery were brought into one hall, which acted as the operating theatre.

Keysaney hospital has been hit by artillery fire on many occasions. The new theatre, along with other hospital facilities, was struck by two mortar shells in January 2012, leaving cracks in the theatre walls as well as damaging water pipes and felling trees in the hospital compound, serving as a reminder of the dangers faced by health-care workers and patients in Mogadishu. 

12 year old Abshir is recovering from injuries to his arms when he was caught in a shell explosion. "I was walking along the road. Some kids were playing with it (a shell) and it blew up. It struck me on this side and the other side."  The two children playing with the shell were both killed.

Keysaney is one of two ICRC supported surgical referral hospitals in Mogadishu. It accepts all patients regardless of their clan, religious or political affiliation. Staff treated nearly 2000 weapon-wounded patients in 2011.

Facts & Figures 2012

Keysaney Hospital

  • ICRC refurbished the Keysaney hospital 20 years ago, in 1992, by transforming a a prison into a hospital.
  • The Keysaney hospital in run by the Somali Red Crescent Society (SRCS).
  • The Hospital has ever since provided war surgery and emergency medical care for civilians and combatants a like for the past two decades.
  • More than 216,000 people including 30, 000 with weapon related injuries have been treated at the hospital since 1992.

The ICRC and health care in Somalia

To ensure those wounded by weapons receive appropriate medical care, the ICRC permanently supports two surgical and medical emergency hospitals in Mogadishu. 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of the SRCS-run Keysaney Hospital, established and supported by the ICRC since 1992. This event serves as a sad reminder of the length of Somalia's problems, as well as proud symbol of the ability of its staff to offer essential services to Somalis of all backgrounds, despite the immense challenges of the last two decades.

Ad hoc assistance is also provided to other medical facilities across Somalia, including Somaliland and Puntland, in the case of mass casualty influxes. Emergency "war wounded kits", containing dressing materials, surgical supplies and other essential items, have recently been flown to hospitals in the north in response to the fighting there.

The organization also supports 43 SRCS primary health care and mother-and-child clinics (of which 12 mobile clinics) serving a population of over 473,000 people countrywide. Of these, almost 44,000 malnourished pregnant women and young children have received therapeutic feeding treatment already in 2012 in 27 of the above structures, to bring them back to health. Extra materials are frequently sent to these structures in case of mass casualties resulting from fighting in the surrounding areas.

Shotlist - Keysaney Hospital, Somalia

0:00 GVs of Keysaney hospital from the outside

0:18 Various of Keysaney hospital gate/entrance

0:27 various of hospital main entrance with a close up of the hospitals name

0:31 Various of Keysaney hospital views from the inside – courtyard

0:37 Various of old prison watch tower

0:41 Close up shots of prison tower with SRCS (Somali Red Crescent Society) flag.

0:48 Various of SRCS mini van arrives at the Hospital

0:51 SOUNDBITE Dr Ahmed Mohamed Ahmed, Head Surgeon (In English)

“I believe that with the location of the hospital and the casualties that I see, it is very hard to work in such a place. I feel that I am helping my people, that is why I am able to resist every kind of difficulty."

1:17 Various of Keysaney courtyard and Patient brought in with a stab wound

            SOUNDBITE (In English) :

"It’s not a gunshot wound, it’s a stab wound"

1:33 Various of hospital compound

1:38 Various of Keysaney blood bank and laboratory

1:44 Various of Keysaney hospital's activity triage board

1: 54 SOUNDBITE Dr Ahmed head surgeon (In English)

“At the opening of the hospital, we had only one operating theatre which was one big room, we could not separate clean and unclean (septic) wounded patients. It is not a suitable situation to work, but we managed. Thanks to the ICRC who built a new modern operating theatre, it is separated into theatre A and B. A is for the clean wounded patients; B is for the unclean/septic wounded patients. Since we have started working in the new theatre the number of cross infections have reduced."

2:51 Various of the new operating theatre (outside)

3:12 Various of new operating theatre (Inside)

3:30 SOUNDBITE Dr Ahmed (In English)

“This is a new room in the operating theatre and these are the cracks caused by the shelling. It hits on the outside so the vibration caused this crack then we repaired it.”

3:50 Various of cracks on the wall

3:55 Various of Dr. Ahmed attending to patients in the ward

4:08 Various of Ahmed Omar faarax in the ward (patient with abdominal gun shot wound)

4:23 SOUNDBITE (Somali) Ahmed Omar faarax (In Somali)

"I was at the market when I got shot, I fell down and some boys who were there put me in their car and brought me to keysaney hospital. As soon as I arrived, humane doctors treated me. I was taken to the theatre and I was better afterwards. They removed the bullet and showed it to me. That’s how it all happened"

“Anigo suqa joogo ayaa xabad igu dacdey, markan mesha kudacey wiilaal mesha jooga ayaa baabur igu soo qaadey. Isbitaalka Keysaney igeya ayaan dexe. Waay Igeyeen. Markay igeyeen iskumarkii daqtarka oo xasiidnimad aan leheyn ayaa iqade isla marki La igeye Marki aniga mesha la iga sarey waxaan arkey anigo fican.habadi aa laiga baxshe waana la ituse. Waxkasta saasay udaceen markaa.”

5:00 Various of ward

5:05 Various of ward – Doctors checking man with an amputated leg

5:19 Various of ward

5:22 Various of Abshir in the ward (patient with shelling wounds)

5:42 SOUNDBITE (Somali) Abshir Hussein (In Somali)

"I was walking along the road, some kids were playing with it and it blew up. Once it blew up it struck me here, one on this side and another on this side. They were two kids playing with it and I was just going to get bread"

“Anoo jidka marayo, ilmaa gargaraaceye ayaay qaraxdey. Haday qaraxdey halkan ayaay igagadacdey, hal dinacan halna dinacan kale ayuu igudacey. Laba cunug ayaa kuciyaareyse aniguna jidkaan maraye, rooti aan doonaye”

6:02 Various of the woman's ward

6:14 Various of Saciido (bullet wounded patient)

6:20 Q&A with Saciido (in Somali)

Q: What happened to you?

A: a gun shot

Q: Where did it happen?

A: in Madina

Q: What were you doing?

A: I was a sleep

Q: while you were asleep?

A: Yes

Q: Were you at home?

A: Yes, I was sleeping at home

Q: How did you feel?

A: Pain

6:42 Various of Saciido close up

6:56 Various of Physiotherapy outside  

7:01 Various of patients at physiotherapy sessions at the hospital

7:42  END

  • Copyright: ICRC Access All
  • Production locations: Keysaney Hospital, Mogadishu, Somalia
  • Running time: 7'42
  • Languages available: English, Somali
  • Reference: AV019N

Format: Mpeg2 / 16:9 anamorphic / SD