Battling Somalia’s epidemic, a British doctor finds peace Featured

MOGADISHU: British doctor Jihan Mohamud traveled to Somalia for the first time last year to bury her father in the land of his birth.

Finding solace from her grief, she stayed on, and she is now on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19 in the city he loved.

“During the times of health crisis, there are only two things people look up to in the hope of life: God and doctors,” said the 25-year-old from Coulsdon, south of London. “It’s a blessing to be able to help someone in pain.”

She spends her 16-hour work days analyzing data in a government call center in Mogadishu, a lifeline for people seeking advice and treatment for coronavirus in a country whose healthcare system has been ravaged by violence and poverty.

“If it were not for this call center ... people would go to every hospital and spread the virus,” she said.

The center gets between 6,000-7,000 calls per day, she said, data the Health Ministry uses to track COVID-19 outbreaks, allocate scarce resources and respond to emergencies.

Somalia has documented 2,416 confirmed coronavirus cases and 85 deaths. Fighting between government forces and Al-Shabaab insurgents means testing has been sporadic at best, suggesting the true figures are far higher.