ADDIS ABABA – African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) with the support of the Government of Italy, has commenced construction of a 68-bed health facility for soldiers and officers of the Somali National Army.
The construction of the the Army hospital is being implemented under the Early Recovery and Stabilization program, says African Union.
The ground breaking ceremony took place at the premises of the old Somali National Army Hospital in the capital, Mogadishu. The hospital was built in the 1960s but was destroyed during the years of Somalia’s civil war. It is now being rebuilt.
The choice to fund the construction of the military health facility was because of the potential to transform the facility into a center of excellence for medical research, said Simon Mulongo, Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission (AUC) for Somalia.
“This hospital is not only going to be a referral facility for the army but should be developed into a research and development facility for the army,” the representative said.
The plan to construct the SNA Hospital was a joint agreement with the AUC following a request made by the Somalia Chief of Defence Forces for a health facility for members of Somalia’s military.
“Now we are here putting down the first stone of this project that will serve to protect the brave and efficient soldiers of the SNA,” said Alberto Vecchi, Italy’s Ambassador to Somalia.
“When completed we will keep on supporting and helping the government and the people of Somalia to maintain it. We will find a way, together, depending on your needs,” he added.
According to the Amisom, the construction of the facility will be undertaken by Deeqa Construction and Water Well Drilling Company.
Somalia’s Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. Odowaaa Yusuf, said the request for a military hospital came out of the need for specialized medical equipment and health personnel to address the various health challenges faced by the men and women in uniform.
“In the past, this hospital not only provided services to military personnel but also catered for the civilian population,” he said. “Now, we will have the 68-bed facility to cater for the military. In the past, Isbitaalka Xoogga was renowned for having the best medical and research experts. We hope to be able to have the best experts here again.”
The construction of the health facility is expected to take about six months and would include a modern kitchen, laundry, administration, and storage areas.