(ERGO) – When displaced mother Nurto Mohamed Abdirahman, 42, went into labour in the middle of the night in a camp outside Mogadishu, help came quickly in the form of the community’s own car purchased for just such emergencies.
“It was 1:30 am at night. My neighbours called the car at night and I was taken first to one hospital where they said they could not help me, and then to Banadir hospital where I got help,” she said.
Nurto gave birth to a baby boy on that night of 7 January.
She is happy that her own family’s contribution to raising $1,200 to buy Da’ iyo Danyar IDP camp’s car has helped her at critical moments.
“If we didn’t have the car, I would have lost blood at home and my child might have died in the process. I would have stayed at home because there isn’t any emergency response, and if I had called someone they wouldn’t have been able to help me. I would have really struggled,” she said.
As the camp is eight kilometres away from Mogadishu, Nurto would not have found any taxi service operating to assist her in the night.
It is the second time her family of eight children has used the camp car’s free service to get to hospital. In December, two of her children were rushed to hospital where they were diagnosed with measles.
Nurto’s family arrived in the camp six months ago after river floods destroyed their house and three-hectare farm in Qoryoley, Lower Shabelle region. Their income is minimal as she had to stop cleaning work when she became pregnant, and her diabetic husband is unemployed.
Since the camp residents invested in the car, 125 IDPs have used it for their health emergencies, mostly children and pregnant mothers.
Habibo Hassan Abdi, 27, joined Da’ iyo Danyar camp in November and although she could not afford the $1 contribution, she has appreciated being able to use the car ambulance service.
When her two-year daughter became sick with watery diarrhoea, they were sped to a hospital in Mogadishu for timely treatment.
“It reached us swiftly and I took her to an MCH. This car has improved our lives. A child gets sick and they are taken (to hospital), a pregnant mother is also taken. Previously women had to give birth at home,” she said.
Habibo was displaced from Bulo-Marer in Lower Shabelle, after floods washed away their farm. She too makes a meagre income doing cleaning or odd jobs in Bakara market.
The Da’ iyo Danyar camp leader, Ali Diini Malim, told Radio Ergo that 678 families contributed $1 each while the camp management topped up the collection with $522 to buy the second hand saloon car.
He said the camp residents had been facing challenges getting to health centres during emergencies and there had been cases of children dying and mothers losing blood during childbirth as they could not reach hospitals in time.
He recalled how last year IDPs had carried a pregnant mother on their backs trying to get her to a health centre. She gave birth on the way before they managed to reach a hospital.
“I called on the families and told them about the idea. We collected a little money from the families and we completed the rest of the money.
This is not something common in IDP camps! This is the first camp that has got an ambulance car through collective contribution of funds,” he said proudly.