UK-Med fights coronavirus pandemic in Djibouti

The international team of four includes 26-year-old British biomedical engineer Rob Shutt from Kempston in Bedfordshire who will fly from Heathrow this evening. 
The international team of four includes biomedical engineer Rob Shutt from Bedfordshire.

Thursday June 10:  UK Med sends four medics to the Republic of Djibouti in the Horn of Africa to support healthcare staff battle the coronavirus pandemic.  

The team are responding to an urgent request for support from the WHO Emergency Medical Team (EMT) Secretariat.

Djibouti is a tiny country on the east coast of Africa and has become temporary shelter to 33,000 asylum seekers and refugees fleeing war and drought.  It’s estimated that thousands pass through Djibouti each year from its neighbouring countries: Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea and from across the Bay of Aden, Yemen.

Djibouti itself is facing a number of crises, particularly extreme poverty, limited access to healthcare and continual health problems, including HIV/Aids[1].

The UK-Med team of four is made up of critical care doctor and team lead Emery Ebele from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Alphonse Tuyishime, a critical care nurse from Rwanda, emergency department nurse, Pierre Zankou from Benin, West Africa and British biomedical engineer Rob Shutt who arrived today.

The team will provide specialist training to healthcare staff to treat serious and critically ill patients; prevent the further spread of COVID-19; and the installation, use and maintenance of critical care equipment including oxygen supplies.  With around 400,000 people living in slums around the capital, the City of Djibouti, the emphasis of this response will be to prepare healthcare teams for a future surge.

[1] https://borgenproject.org/tag/healthcare-in-djibouti/

David Wightwick, UK-Med CEO said: UK-Med is proud to work with the WHO in Djibouti.  Our UK-Med team will save lives by using their specialist expertise and skills to make sure medics in Djibouti are best equipped to treat those seriously sick with coronavirus.  

We stand by the people of Djibouti.  This dreadful disease does not respect borders, and none of us are safe until we are all safe.” 

The situation in Djibouti

As of June 10th 2021, Djibouti has had a total of 11,567 COVID-19 cases and 154 people have died from the pandemic. The country saw a surge of new cases and fatalities in April 2021, with limited access to testing and treatment for much of the population. 

The team will be in Djibouti for two weeks and is funded by UK-Med and the WHO.

We’ll post more updates from the team on our social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn) as the response develops.


  • Adama Diarrassouba

    Reply 11th October 2021 6:52 am


    First of all, I would like ,to send great Congratulations to FCDO for thier trust in UK-Med expertise and their continious support.
    Also, great thanks to our colleagues of UK-Med Rosters for their commitment and professionalism on the frontline to coping with COVID-19 around the world.
    My warmest greatings to UK-Med HQ teams, for their strategic planning and operational management skills they shows so far.

    Looking forward to receiving other fresh news from the ground

    with kind regards

  • Adama Diarrassouba

    Reply 11th October 2021 7:11 am

    Very glad,

    Operations are ongoing increasigly, and teams are growing step by step, as well are prepared more and more for their jobs.
    This shows clearly that UK-Med is positioning throughout COVID-19 outbreack emergency response.
    This wouldn’t been possible if the Capacity building unit didn’t carried out, on an ongoing basis, specialized trainings to prepare us.

    Special congrats to the coms unit.


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