Sand flies, flatworms and the Sahara Hospital

The desert. A non-zone for hospitals? I already did two portraits about remote hospitals in desert zones: the group of 5 in the Atacama Desert in Chile and the one I found in the mongolian Gobi Desert.

Hospitals are like scorpions; they live almost everywhere, they survive temperatures between −31 to 50 °C (Repetek Desert, Turkmenistan) and are totally committed to their tasks. So this time I took a closer look to the Sahara. The vast plateau of Tassili n’Ajjer, part of the UNESCO world heritage list – in south-east of Algeria at the borders of Libya, Niger and Mali, covering an area of 72,000 km2.
Tassili  Tassili2

Algeria – african’s largest country offers a unique experience in this mountainous desert being named «the largest storehouse of rock paintings in the world» in the middle of the Sahara. So, 2.5 million years of history, legends of the desert like the Touaregs and tourists and immigrants. And there is a kind of a capital there, the Oasis City Djanet – where the legendary desert dwarf crocodiles can be seen now and then. Reachable by Tassili Airlines. The population of about 15’000 people covers an area of more than 57’000 km2.

About healthcare in the desert. The Hôpital de Djanet.
The main challenges here are cases of malaria, bilharziasis > snail fever caused by parasictic flatworms called schistosomes, leishmaniasis infection > caused by the bite of bloodsucking sand flies > skin sores and the visceral version which affects inner organs like spleen, liver and bone marrow and syphilis > bacterial infection, a STD – sexually transmitted disease.


The basic services in Djanet: gynecology – midwifery, pediatrics, surgery and internal medicine, medical emergency services and hemodialysis (kidney).
– 80 beds
– supporting 24 patients with chronic renal insufficiency
– 13 generators
djanetH  hopitalDjanet

About the staff: Djanet is part of the area named «Wilaya d’Illizi» with some 550’000 inhabitants.» The personal for 2 hospitals which each 80 beds, 6 polyclinics (4 of them having 23 maternity beds) and 35 treatment rooms/medical centers is split into two groups
1. Hospitals: 40 specialized physicians, 93 general practitioners, 21 dental surgeons, 7 pharmacists and 426 paramedics.
2. Polyclinics and medical centers: 3 specialized physicians (in Ain Amena), 66 general practitioners, 15 dental surgeons, 2 pharmacists, 3 psychologists and 147 paramedics.
djanethospital  djanetinside

Future investments of about 5.5 million dollars (some 27% for equipment):
2 hospitals with a total of 60 beds in In-amenas and Bordj Omar Driss.
1 sanitary control at the border (Lybia) in the area of Djanet > Tin-Alkoum

Remote Healthcare/Hospitals
The outposts of human living places need healthcare. And they need support for equipment, medicine, infrastructure and healthcare professionals willing to work there. The world population reached 7’500’000’000 and counting. Not only in Djanet a growing population can be predicted. The challenge for countries, governmental and private healthcare departments/units and helping/non profit organisations already arrived.

I am impressed about the Hôpital of Djanet.

Maurice Codourey





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