Life was harsh in the 1970s in Wajir, a remote region populated primarily by Somalis. A UNICEF survey declared the water unfit for human consumption. Lions attacked isolated nomads and snakebites were common. Temp-eratures soared to 105 degrees Fahrenheit and there was no electricity. Rain, on the rare occasions when it did fall, could lead to catastrophic flooding. The hospital lacked sufficient staff, equipment, and supplies. Tuberculosis, malaria, typhoid, cholera, and dengue fever raged. 

Annalena Tonelli moved to Wajir in 1970 to teach, but during a cholera epidemic her work shifted to caring for sick children. Eventually, she turned all her attention to treating tuberculosis.

Twenty years ago today, on October 5, 2003, Islamic extremists gunned down Annalena Tonelli as she made the evening rounds of her patients in the TB hospital she had founded.