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No masks, gloves or oxygen in Mogadishu hospital, says grieving husband who lost pregnant wife to COVID19

Mohamed Abdi Afi who lost his pregnant wife to COVID19/Yusuf Abdi Shire/Ergo

(ERGO) – Mohamed Abdi Afi, a resident of the Somali capital Mogadishu, has started a campaign to support the city’s De Martino Hospital with essential COVID19 equipment after his eight-months pregnant wife died with the virus in the hospital this month.

Mohamed told Radio Ergo in an interview that he was moved by the needs of the hospital, which he claimed lacks medicine, masks, hand sanitisers and oxygen tanks, despite being the only hospital designated by the Somali government to treat COVID19 cases.

“It was shocking to see the doctors without even masks and gloves as they attended to the patients,” said Mohamed.

“I would have been satisfied if I saw the doctors attending to my wife dressed in protective clothing, but I saw none of that. The doctors themselves are in great danger of contracting the virus.”

Mohamed has called the campaign Gar-gaara Fatxi (Help Fathi), after his wife with whom he was expecting his first child.

He said he blames the death of his wife on the hospital’s poor preparedness to treat her. He said the hospital lacked enough oxygen cylinders for the patients in the intensive care unit where his wife was admitted, and the few cylinders they had were leaking.

“An oxygen tank designed to support the patient for an hour or two ends in half an hour because of the leaks,” Mohamed said.

He bought three oxygen cylinders using his own money on 16 February for his wife and three other families with patients in the hospital, after they were told by the doctors that they were running out of oxygen.

“Seven other patients died in the hospital the evening of the night my wife died. The doctors told us in private that their oxygen supply was going to run out in four hours,” he said.

De Martino Hospital is under the control of the Somali federal government’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. The ministry’s official twitter account states that nine people died of COVID19 on 16 February, the day that Fathi died.

According to Mohamed, the nurses who moved her body to the mortuary had no masks or gloves and were wearing shorts and open shoes, even though they knew she had died with the virus.  Washrooms in the hospital had no hand soap or sanitiser.

Mohamed appealed to the Somali public to support his campaign to help others to access medical care in memory of his beloved wife. He aims to provide the hospital with the essentials to avoid further preventable deaths.

He has already made his first donation of masks, sanitisers and oxygen cylinders to the hospital.

“Donate whatever you can since you or your loved ones might be admitted to the same hospital tomorrow,” he urged members of the public.


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