"Our ability to deliver a high-quality damage control surgical facility in such a short space of time is impressive. The team went above and beyond to find solutions to some of the toughest challenges." Tim Mitchell, CEO, Iqarus.

Background

On 10 April 2010, the EU launched a training mission (EUTM Somalia) in order to contribute to strengthening the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the institutions of Somalia.

The mission involves over 140 EU military personnel, supporting a range of operations, including training for local military personnel, as well as providing advisory and mentoring activities. Initially, operations took place in Uganda; now all activities are based out of Mogadishu, Somalia.

An essential prerequisite for any EUTM mission is the ability to wrap an envelope of medical care around deployed staff. With this in mind, the EUTM set about establishing a Role 2 damage control surgical facility within the secure confines of Mogadishu airport. Iqarus took part in a competitive tender to deliver the project and, in December 2017, was awarded the contract.

This project follows a number of turnkey medical capability projects in Somalia, including the provision of a medical evacuation support team operating out of four hubs in Somaliland and Puntland between 2012 and 2013.

Challenges

Some of the challenges faced by Iqarus in support of the EUTM in Mali were:

  • Despite Iqarus having a mobilisation date of 31 December, Iqarus did not gain access to the facility until after the incumbent had moved out on 25 January 2018.
  • Due to the holiday season, airframe space was not available via commercial airlines.
  • When Iqarus finally gained access, the facility was in a much poorer state than anticipated; this was no longer an upgrade and operate project; rather a full re-modelling project.

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  • Stores and supplies were a challenge. Getting controlled drugs and other supplies into the country required expert navigation of permissions, import/export licenses, taxes and paperwork.

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Solutions

Some of the solutions Iqarus provided in order to deliver on time and on budget:

  • Iqarus chartered its own aircraft to ensure timely delivery of key equipment and medical supplies by the 31 December deadline.
  • Equipment and medical supplies were stored locally and, once access was granted, the team supported the complete overhaul of the facility.
  • Once the new electrics, plumbing, and leaking ceiling had been replaced, Iqarus installed an industrial steriliser (sourced in Nairobi and transported in- person back to Somalia), and built a fit- for-purpose scrub sink from an industrial catering sink, with adapted specialist taps.
  • Partnerships with suppliers providing medicines and blood products have since been established; these vital supplies now make their way into the country in a timely, consistent and compliant manner.

Outcome

Iqarus re-modelled, staffed, equipped and now operates of a fully-compliant Role 2 damage control surgical facility at Mogadishu airport in Somalia.

Key facilities and medical equipment at the Role 2 include:

  • A central sterilisation and supply department
  • A pre-op/recovery room
  • A two-table operating theatre (one orthopaedic; one general)
  • A two bed ICU
  • A small laboratory with state of the art equipment (e.g. blood analyser, etc.)
  • Digital radiology and diagnostics department (replacing wet x-rays, etc.)

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All local and international medical standards are fully complied with and the facility now provides high-quality surgical care, with arguably some of the best medical equipment in Somalia.

Furthermore, the facility has now taken in its first medical and surgical cases; the first ever surgical case in the facility’s history.

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