Over 24,500 people in Somalia’s Balcad district have received healthcare thanks to a six-month Islamic Relief project.

Poor living conditions and lack of access to even basic healthcare in Balcad, 40 kilometres north of the country’s capital, have led to outbreaks of measles, acute watery diarrhoea, and other infectious diseases.

The scheme addressed the health risks faced by communities by supporting health centres to deliver ‘women-friendly’ services, delivering mobile health clinics, and raising community awareness.

Situated next to a school previously constructed by Islamic Relief, Balcad Health Centre was the focal point of the project, which ensured regular and free access to healthcare for schoolchildren and the local community – especially people facing dire conditions in crowded camps for displaced people.

Medical doctors, nurses and midwives provided much-needed health care, largely focusing on maternal, newborn and child health. Mobile outreach services were also delivered.

Widowed mother-of-five Nurta Hussein Abdi found the healthcare project invaluable.

“It is great that we are getting free local medical care,” said Nurta Hussein Abdi as she waited with her son, Zakariya, for treatment at the Belcad Health Centre.

“I am a mother of five orphaned children. Their father passed away a year ago, and I could not afford to pay their medical bills. Some of my children were suffering from eczema and fungal infections for years but they are all fine now, after getting healthcare from the Islamic Relief medical team.”

Islamic Relief recruited local health workers to carry out awareness-raising activities in the community. They promoted good health and nutrition practices including pre and post-natal care, hygiene and first aid.

We also gave laboratory and medical equipment to two health centres, helping ensure they can continue to provide much-needed care into the future.

The six-month project ended in December having helped 24,522 people. Islamic Relief began working in Somalia in 2006, and now delivers projects covering education, health, water and sanitation, livelihoods and child welfare.