Students vacate medical college to house diarrhoea patients in SomalilandPhoto | Aden Omar being treated for diarrhoea/Sidik Yusuf Khalaf/Ergo
(ERGO) - The Somaliland health ministry has taken over a medical training college in Burao to use as a temporary hospital, as cases of acute watery diarrhoea continue to rise in Toghdeer region.
A woman in her eighties and a three-year-old boy died on 3 May, whilst 74 diarrhoea patients are being treated in makeshift wards in Burao Institute of Medical Science.
Burao District Hospital, also run by the health ministry, is full with patients suffering from other illnesses and has no facility for isolating diarrhoea patients.
The sick have come from urban neighbourhoods in Burao and surrounding villages over the past two weeks. Many are brought when late when their condition is already critical.
Fatima Osman Ahmed, director of the institute, said they had suspended studies for the more than 300 students to cope with the outbreak. The centre received 35 new patients over the last 24 alone. Some of the students are taking part in the medical emergency operations.
The 60 beds brought from the hospital are full and the rest of the patients re sleeping on mats on the floor in the eight rooms and outside veranda.
Fatima said the district hospital was overwhelmed by other diseases and malnutrition caused by the drought.
She attributed the diarrhoea to water shortages and people being forced to drink dirty water including surface water after the rain.
Aden Omar, 55, from Hayira village, 75 km east of Burao, is among the patients. He told Radio Ergo he was lucky to be brought in by vehicle the day after he fell sick. He said he was feeling better after rehydration and medication.
Warbixinno la xiriira