- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 15, 2016

ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. (AP) - A Minnesota nonprofit has shipped an entire hospital’s worth of equipment and supplies to a medical facility in Mogadishu, Somalia.

The Star Tribune (https://strib.mn/1OpuHez ) reports that St. Louis Park-based nonprofit Matter worked with the Minnesota Community of African People With Disabilities and the Somali Ministry of Health to send the final shipment. According to organizers, the supplies should be moved into the vacant Bahrain Public General Hospital in July.

Organizers say political instability and violence has kept local relief groups away from the nation. Mike Muelken, Matter’s vice president of international programs, said that Somalia has mostly been given aid by large international nonprofits, such as Red Cross/Red Crescent and the United Nations’ World Food Programme.

While Minnesota nonprofit organizations have sent medical supplies to developing countries across the globe, this is one of the first large-scale medical-aid deliveries to Somalia, organizers said.

Mahad Hassan with the Minnesota Community of African People With Disabilities said he was shocked by the “lack of dignity” in medical care when he returned to his home county after being away for 26 years. His organization, formed in 2014, works to support disabled Somali-Americans in Minnesota and also hopes to bring quality medical care to Somali citizens back home.

Muelken said there are many issues that still need to be addressed in Somalia, including equipment upkeep and finding trained medical personnel. He said the hospital in Mogadishu has been wired with a U.S.-compatible electrical system to facilitate installation of the current and any future medical shipments.

According to Muelken, the hospital will be followed by other initiatives to provide aid in the country.

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Information from: Star Tribune, https://www.startribune.com


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