The former colony of Italy sends some of its best doctors to help the world’s worst-hit coronavirus hotspot in Europe.
Despite grappling with deadly insurgencies, the sixth highest poverty rate in the world and massive internal displacement, Somalia sent 20 of its medical experts to Italy in an attempt to boost the European country's fight against the coronavirus, which has wreaked havoc on its healthcare system, claiming thousands of lives.
A former colonial power that ruled many African countries including Somalia, Italy has been asking for help from the international community, especially from its European neighbours, to ease some of the burden on its overstrained health services. While European countries weren't significantly forthcoming to Italy's rescue, countries like Turkey, Russia and China stood out as they promptly sent aid to the embattled country. But it was Somalia's humanitarian gesture that was most heart-warming of all.
“I am heartened by the fact that a group of Somali doctors has made itself available to support the exhausting work that the doctors involved in the Covid-19 emergency are carrying out in recent weeks, while much of Europe has literally turned its back on us,” said Oliver Tahir, a Somali-Italian engineer, who has been known for his efforts to establish connections between the two countries.
The global health crisis, which is the second biggest epidemic in a century, has revealed how effective the health services of smaller countries can be in time of the global crisis.
"Twenty volunteer doctors from National University in Mogadishu are registered at Italy's Embassy and will go to Italy to help the country's fight against coronavirus," said Ismail Mukhtar Orongo, the Somali government spokesman, last weekend.
Orongo said that his government is responding to Italy’s help call.
Somalia’s extraordinary response to Italy’s pandemic crisis has shown the importance of global solidarity across the world to stand against a common enemy altogether.
“Suddenly we felt a deep regret for the data of Covid-19 in Italy and for the further growth in the number of infected and dead people,” said the Somali doctors in a statement.
“In this particularly difficult moment we feel the duty to express sincere solidarity with our colleagues in the Italian medical and health associations, above all by giving our full availability to voluntarily work alongside them," the doctors emphasised.
Doctors participating help efforts to Italy include: Omar Sheikh Addow, dean and an academic of Dentistry, and doctors Jeylani Mohamoud, Yasin Nur, Abdisamad Abikar, Abdirahman Fiqi, Abdullahi Mohamud, Abukar Mohamed, Maria Mohamed Bare, Hameeda Shakiib, Abdullahi Ahmed Hersi, Abdirahman Yus Abdullahi Mohamed Nur, Said Muse Aden and Bashir Sheikh Omar.
The three countries have much fewer confirmed cases compared to Italy.
While lesser developed nations like Somalia are trying to do their best to help the needy across the globe, the developed world’s leading countries from the US to France appear to fight each other to get more masks and other essential health equipment to put their self-interests first.
In one particular incident, US companies hijacked mask shipments, which were destined to go to one of the worst-affected virus areas in France from China, by offering three times more money than French firms were willing to pay, according to officials from Paris.