"I am deeply shaken by the death of Dr. Abdullahi," said Helmut Kutin, president of SOS Children’s Villages. “He worked tirelessly for the children and mothers of this ravaged country and could not be deterred from his mission even in situations of great danger. All of us at SOS Children’s Villages are in mourning.”
|Dr. Abduullahi Hussein|
Dr Abdullahi, a pediatrician and director of the SOS Hospital in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, was trained in Mogadishu and first worked at the SOS Hospital in 1991. In 1995 he went to Italy for further training before working in England, where he still has family. In 2005 he returned to Somalia to work for SOS Children’s Villages. He was instrumental in keeping the hospital running while setting up a satellite facility in Afgoye, 18 miles from the capital.
"In Europe people are concerned with simple problems," he once said. "Here it’s about life and death. When you do something here, you sleep better at night. This is a place where I can really make a difference."
The SOS Hospital, which opened in 1989, is one of five small hospitals that serve a city of 1.2 million residents, including thousands of refugees in need of medical care. The hospital, where Dr. Abdullahi and a team of nurses and midwives worked, is known for its low-cost maternity and pediatric care.
SOS doctors in Somalia work under tremendous strains and at great personal risk.
"The pressure on our hospital has grown with more and more refugees coming to Mogadishu," said Dr. Abdullahi in 2011. "But because the hospital is located in one of the most troubled areas, there are times when we have to close."
Dr. Abdullahi was not immune to the violence wracking his home country. During a graduation ceremony for Banadir University medical students in December 2009 he was wounded by a suicide bomber. He incurred injuries in his abdomen, legs, and hand, and spent three months in a Saudi Arabian hospital. (Banadir University medical students do their practicum at the SOS Hospital.)
After recovery, he returned to Somalia, though he had opportunities to live elsewhere. "Innocent and vulnerable people, especially women and children, remain inside Somalia in insecure places without enough food, clean water, permanent shelter, and a primary health service. I want to help them because all my studies were done in Mogadishu and it was free, meaning it was from tax payers' money. So now is my turn to help."