Somalia: Red Crescent Revs Up Ambulance Service in Mogadishu

press release

The motorcycles can better navigate Mogadishu's narrow side roads and find ways around the city's traffic with ease. Each is manned by two responders and the extra room in the sidecar is for the injured person.

The first responder! Well, not always, the first responders are often the passersby at the scene of an incident. The SRCS has been providing first aid training to people living in Mogadishu so they can provide some basic level of care before the medical teams arrive.

The 446-emergency service is offered free of charge by the SRCS. While this makes the service accessible, some challenges remain. Safety of the responders is always a concern for the team and numerous security checkpoints in the city may slow down the rescue. Pictured, Ismail Salah on a bike.

The SRCS ambulance response team is comprised of 34 people split into shifts to work round the clock. Six of them are on the motorcycle side of the response, while the rest man the ambulance vehicles. Hassan Farah (right) and his colleague Jamac Sheikh Ali are part of the motorcycle unit.

The ICRC and the SRCS work together to ensure the 446-emergency line is well-coordinated through the dispatch centre to ensure casualties in Mogadishu receive the help they need in a timely fashion.

Since the beginning of the year, the team has attended to 370 emergencies. Out of these, 464 people received treatment while 616 others were referred to hospital for further care. Shafici Hussein, one of the six motorcycle responders.

23 March 2021

The next ambulance siren you hear wailing down Al Mukarama street in Mogadishu may just be a motorcycle. Bisha Caas's the Somali Red Crescent Society (SRCS), has added four motorcycle ambulances to their emergency response fleet in Mogadishu. The bikes which will be manned by two SRCS responders come fitted with a sidecar, a one-wheeled device attached to the side, providing room to ferry an additional person. The motorcycles are aimed at reducing the response time as they can easily navigate the city's side roads and weave through Mogadishu's traffic snarl-ups.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and SRCS have been working together to ensure that casualties of incidents such as explosions and shoot-outs in Somalia's capital can receive quality medical help quickly. By using the toll-free number, 446, any resident within the capital can call for an ambulance and the dispatch centre will coordinate a response.

In addition, regular first-aid trainings are provided for residents of the city who would be the first responders in case of an incident and provide the basic level of care before the ambulance teams show up. The ICRC also supports two hospitals in Mogadishu with medical supplies and surgical training as well as a physical rehabilitation centre for patients who may develop mobility issues.

The photos were taken during a training of the ambulance motorcycle riders in Nairobi.

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