Women wearing face masks
Somalia – April 14 2020

In Somalia, necessity is the mother of creation – and survival

We spoke in a previous blog about all the amazing “pande-makes” we’ve seen around the world, where people have been using the time they find themselves with in lockdown to exercise their creative muscles and make things by themselves.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always just a bit of fun. In Somalia, creativity has literally spelled the difference between life and death.

Before the pandemic, in the capital of Mogadishu, the price of one packet of face masks was around $2. Since the coronavirus hit, it now costs $50. The government simply don’t have the resources to provide these for all the frontline staff that need them.

The SOS Hospital in Mogadishu has come up with an innovative solution to this challenge for the patients. The staff used locally available materials to fashion a face mask that could work enough to get by for now. They used white wrapped cloth, folded in lines then sewed using elastic on both ends so that it helps them in covering the nose and the mouth from the virus. The team made 100 facemasks and distributed 25 of them to the Ministry of Health in Somalia.

They have now created enough to cover the staff for the time being, and are sharing the information about how to create these out into the local communities so people can take the initiative and protect themselves and their families. This knowledge will also be taken to the refugee camps and settlements for internally displaced people, where people live in very close contact and struggle to carry out social distancing.

It shouldn’t be necessary, but Somalia has been coping for such a long time with incredibly limited resources and a lack of infrastructure that they’re relatively used to coming up with ideas like these just to get by.

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