Status: Current response

In June 2021, UK Med sent four medics to the Republic of Djibouti in the Horn of Africa to support healthcare staff battle the coronavirus pandemic.  

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 in late June.

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/


UK-Med team members responding


reported cases of COVID-19


reported deaths

How we’re helping

Originally scheduled as a two-week deployment, the team’s work was extended until mid-September 2021 as they work across four hospitals in the capital city of Djibouti City.

Provide training and capacity building (both staff and equipment) across four key hospitals.

Making sure people who need critical care for coronavirus get high quality treatment, in line with national and World Health Organization guidelines.

Working alongside national healthcare staff, and providing training and on the job-supervision.

Training, supervising and mentoring biomedical staff in the use of support equipment for COVID-19 care.

Identifying and providing training opportunities around biomedical engineering - particularly on oxygen supply and delivery.