As we mark World Breastfeeding Week this year, the Ministry of Health and Human Services of the Federal Republic of Somalia, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) called for a concerted effort of all actors to guarantee environments for mothers and babies in all health facilities and workplaces in the country.
Supported by evidence-based national policies, this would help improve exclusive breastfeeding rates among Somali women and adequate nutrition and health among Somali children, both in the short and long term.
“We call on parents, families, community leaders, policymakers and development partners to actively build capacity and transform systems at all levels to adequately support breastfeeding,” said Dr. Fawziya Abikar Nur, Federal Minister of Health and Human Services of Somalia.
“All support systems, from the family, the community and health facilities, must be educated and trained to help mothers optimally breastfeed their babies.
This includes breastfeeding from birth to early initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of birth, exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of the child's life, and continued breastfeeding for 2 years and beyond.
This is part of a global call to action to 'Scaling up breastfeeding: educate and support'.
It comes at a time when Somalia is witnessing a rise in child malnutrition, including a reduction in infant and young child feeding practices, due to sharp declines in household income, among other challenges.
Shocks such as droughts, floods, conflicts, displacement, and disease outbreaks such as measles and COVID-19 have deepened inequalities and resulted in nutritional insecurity.
The WHO and UNICEF recommend early initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour after birth, feeding the child only breast milk for the first 6 months (exclusive breastfeeding), and continuing to breastfeed until 24 months or beyond, with the introduction of timely nutrition.
adequate and safe complementary solid foods at 6 months.
It is important for mothers to offer colostrum, the first form of breast milk released after delivery, to newborns as it is high in nutrients, antibodies and antioxidants.
“Breastfeeding gives children the best start in life as it is tailored to the nutritional and immunological needs of the child,” said Wafaa Saeed, UNICEF Representative in Somalia.
“Breast milk helps prevent infection, promotes mother-child bonding, regardless of setting, and provides food and nutritional security to infants from the start of life, contributing to food security for the whole family.” During World Breastfeeding Week, breastfeeding awareness campaigns will be launched across the country, and expert breastfeeding advice will be provided in various settings, including health centers and clinics, and through home visits by health workers.
The campaign will also emphasize that breastfeeding remains safe during the COVID-19 pandemic and the current drought emergency.
Breastfeeding remains the essential, safest and cheapest food for the child, and it is the baby's first vaccine, providing antibodies that give them a critical boost.
“In a fragile country like Somalia, affected by conflicts and recurrent emergencies such as drought, COVID-19 and other diseases, breastfeeding is an effective way to ensure the health and survival of children.
Breastfeeding offers babies all the energy and nutrients they need during their first months of life, and complements other foods from the first 6 months.
We need to co-create an environment to encourage Somali mothers to breastfeed their newborns and infants,” said Dr. Mamunur Rahman Malik, WHO Representative in Somalia and Head of Mission.
As part of the Federal Ministry of Health's National Nutrition Strategy 2020-2025, efforts will be expanded across the country with the primary goal of increasing the number of exclusively breastfed babies aged 0-6 months to over 50% by 2025.
According to the latest government data, only 34% of babies under 6 months are exclusively breastfed.
“Breastfeeding must be considered a public health problem that requires capacity and education at all levels.
Together, we can ensure that all mothers have access to specialist breastfeeding information and advice, enabling them to give their baby the best possible start in life,” added the Minister of Health.
For just over a month, from May 7 to June 16, 2022, Fatumo Yusuf Diriye spent 3 hours every day walking to and from the nearest water source, 6 km away, to fetch water for his family. . Since he could only carry 2 'jirigaans” or buckets of water at a time, and he had to wait for his turn in a long queue, his family had to use this water sparingly. They resorted to using ashes or sand to clean their hands.
Fatumo knows that having to deal with unsafe water has contributed to her 3 children under the age of 5 coming down with diarrhea many times before. On many occasions, she has had to take them to the nearest health center for support. This is a burden that families like Fatumo's, who depend on their daily earnings at a local market, can do without.
Government visit and WHO officials
One day in early May 2022, Fatumo heard that a team of high-level officials from the Government and the World Health Organization (WHO) were visiting the camp where she lived, in northern Galkayo, to assess the effects of the ongoing drought. Although she was unable to go see them, she later heard that some members of the community had asked the senior team leaders to help them repair 2 water pumps that had not worked for longer than she could remember. The Salama water pump, which is a well near Fatumo's house, was one of them, and the Halaboqad well was the second that had not worked for quite some time.
The high-level visiting team was led by HE Dr. Fawziya Abikar Nur, Federal Minister of Health and Human Services, and HE Abdi Nasir Yusuf Haji, Deputy Minister of Health of the state of Puntland. Representing WHO, Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the WHO Eastern Mediterranean, and Dr. Mamunur Rahman Malik, WHO Representative in Somalia, were also part of the team.
Quickly fulfilling a promise
Fatumo, who has been living in a camp for internally displaced persons since 2017, had heard that the WHO team had agreed to provide support, but was not sure how this would turn out. To his delight and surprise, a few days later an expert arrived to assess the Salama well. About a month later, the Salama well was working again.
“Our lives have changed because we now have water from the Salama well, for drinking and also for all our domestic uses,” says Fatumo, as it now takes only 30 minutes to fetch water. The Diriye family can now collect at least 4 buckets of water, as its source, the well, is just over half a kilometer away. Hers is just one of the families living in one of the 6 camps and 2,000 households that now have access to clean water from the Salama well.
With WHO interventions to rehabilitate the Salama and Halaboqad boreholes, 19,716 people now have access to clean water. This will translate into clean drinking water, fewer waterborne diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea, healthier populations and better sanitation conditions. By protecting their families from preventable diseases, Fatumo and many parents like her are able to spend their time and resources raising their families instead of dealing with the stress of fighting disease.
Access to water is a recognized human right
Currently, only 52% of the population in Somalia has access to improved drinking water (the population using safely managed drinking water services). In internally displaced persons (IDP) camps like Salama, this number is staggeringly low. Recurring droughts, like the current one, make water an even scarcer resource.
Worldwide, WHO and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) found that in 2019, 2.2 billion people lacked access to safely managed drinking water services. In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly recognized access to water and sanitation as a human right. The Health Assembly recognized that every human being needs access to “between 50 and 100 liters of safe, acceptable and affordable water per day for personal and domestic use”. The General Assembly also stated that a family's main source of water should be within a 1km radius of their home and that it should take no more than 30 minutes for a family to access water.
To complement this, the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 aims to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. This will reduce the burden of waterborne diseases and promote progress towards universal health coverage.
From 13 to 17 June 2022, the Federal Ministry of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization (WHO) country office for Somalia organized a technical mission from WHO headquarters and the Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, made up of experts from the new Innovation Center team. , as well as the Environment, Climate Change and Health team. The mission aimed to bring together key partners, including United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations and donors, to explore and promote ways to strengthen the Somali health system using climate-friendly solutions, such as the use of solar energy to supply oxygen and electrify health. facilities, especially in remote and hard-to-reach places.
The global climate crisis, identified as the greatest health crisis facing humanity today, has resulted in an extreme phenomenon of droughts and floods occurring annually in Somalia. Meanwhile, the ongoing drought has left Somalia on the brink of famine, with 6.1 million people food insecure and 1.7 million people suffering extreme levels of hunger.
Coupled with high rates of indoor air pollution, caused by the use of fossil fuels in homes, and air temperatures that are projected to rise each year, these conditions are creating an inescapable health storm in an already fragile country.
WHO has installed 3 solar-powered medical oxygen systems in Dhushamareb, Baidoa and Kismayo. The first plant, installed in early 2021 in Dhushamareb, paved the way for replication and possible expansion, as there was a 96% survival rate for children admitted to this hospital with birth asphyxia, pneumonia and other medical conditions. that required immediate attention. oxygen therapy. These children could have lost their lives without access to the high-quality medical oxygen provided by this innovative system.
“During our innovative journey to improve access to medical oxygen, we discovered that the need for a reliable source of electricity can be met by solar power. Innovation can make this feasible and sustainable in Somalia. Therefore, we are now looking at using solar energy to provide enough electricity to power entire health facilities, from medical oxygen and refrigerators for vaccines, to incubators, lighting and operating rooms,” said HE Dr. Fawziya Abikar Nur, Minister of Health. and Human Services, the Federal Government of Somalia.
Following a visit to the solar-powered oxygen plant at Hanano Hospital in Dhushamareb, ai Director, Department of Digital Health and Innovation and Head of Unit, at the WHO Innovation Hub, Louise Agersnap, urged partners to reflect on the situation in Somalia. “What makes a pregnant woman travel hundreds of miles to give birth to a baby she can hold? It is that “beacon” of a hospital that has reliable solar-powered electricity that can ensure a safe delivery,” she said. “Innovation is a tool to solve problems, and in this case, we solved many of them in one go. Somalia is at the forefront, and we at the WHO Innovation Center are proud to collaborate with the Government and the WHO country team. His innovative use of solar energy is bringing multiple gains to the country: it is saving lives; health care cost savings; and save the environment as it uses green and renewable energy”.
"Delaying action would be denying action," said Salvatore Vinci, WHO's sustainable energy adviser. “We must act now to support more health facilities to access energy through solar power. Somalia is the best case to invest in solar energy in health centers, with hours of sunshine, limited and expensive electricity, as well as hospitals without reliable power."
Explaining how facility electrification could help, WHO's Chief Technical Officer and Head of Unit for Air Quality, Energy and Health, Heather Adair-Rohani, said: "Electrification of healthcare facilities Solar powered can ensure access to quality essential services for women and children, promote uptake of health care services, reduce health care costs, while protecting our climate.”
Dr. Mamunur Rahman Malik, WHO Representative in Somalia and Head of Mission emphasized: "There is no alternative to oxygen. Pneumonia is one of the most common causes of child death in Somalia. All children and all human beings they have the right to breathe clean air, drink clean water and access good quality health services. It is incumbent upon us all to ensure that all Somalis have access to these basic human rights, using innovative and climate-friendly solutions."
During his 3-day visit to Somalia, the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari, visited North Galkacyo in the Puntland state of Somalia to monitor WHO's ongoing drought response activities, see the work of community health workers in providing integrated health and nutrition services to people displaced by the recent drought in Somalia and also visit one of the population camps internally displaced people to see the challenges communities face in meeting their health, nutrition, food, and water and sanitation needs.
Later, he attended an event in Mogadishu where the WHO emergency health response plan for the drought was officially launched, which was also attended by HE Dr. Fawziya Abikar Nur, the Minister of Health and Human Services of the Federal Government of Somalia. , Mr. Jocelyn Mason, the United Nations Resident Coordinator for Somalia, interim, and Mr. Mugatte Guisse, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, interim.
The ongoing drought in Somalia and throughout the Horn of Africa is known to be the worst in the region in the last 4 decades. In Somalia alone, an estimated 6.1 million people have been affected by drought, of whom 759,400 have been displaced in search of water, food and grazing; 3.5 million lack sufficient access to water; 6 million continue to face severe food shortages, with approximately 1.4 million children facing acute malnutrition by 2022, including 329,500 likely to be severely malnourished; So far, a total of 3,675 suspected cholera cases and 2,720 measles cases have been confirmed since January 2022 in the drought-affected areas.
“Whenever natural disasters strike, disease inevitably follows, especially in fragile contexts. At all levels, WHO is leaving no stone unturned to help the people of Somalia cope with the stark effects of the drought,” said Dr. Al-Mandhari.“As one of the first responders on the ground, WHO is working with the government, donors and other UN agencies and health cluster partners to reduce the spread of disease and complications related to malnutrition, while rebuilding health systems to deal with similar calamities. in the future."
The WHO emergency health response plan for the drought in Somalia for 2022 urgently requires US$35 million over the next 10 months to carry out life-saving emergency operations and reach more than 2.5 million vulnerable people in the most affected areas of the country.
Dr. Al-Mandhari explained that the drought response plan, which will serve as a WHO model for intensifying efforts to save more lives and protect Somalis from severe forms of disease and malnutrition, was based on lessons learned from past droughts in Somalia and help prevent epidemics, save lives, protect the health and nutrition needs of communities, and avert a further health crisis.He also commended the Federal Government and UN partners for their collaborative efforts, emphasizing that the true essence of the Eastern Mediterranean Region Vision 2023 of “health for all by all” was solidarity with drought response work. in progress. “WHO is responding to the most dire needs of Somali families and is working to ensure that all Somali households, including the most vulnerable, can access lifesaving emergency support, especially during emergencies. The WHO Emergency Health Response Plan for the drought in Somalia calls for early action without regret. It is imperative that WHO has access to flexible, smart and unallocated funds to expand our lifesaving operations in hard-to-reach areas to protect the health and well-being of people affected by drought,” said Dr. Mamunur Malik, WHO Representative in Somalia.
In their continuous and collective efforts to improve the resilience of the health system, the Ministry of Health and Human Services of the Federal Government of Somalia, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Embassy of Italy have joined forces and officially launched a multiannual program of 3 million euros. project entitled 'Improving Essential Health Services in Somalia Using a Secondary Hospital Care Approach'.
The project is designed to improve the provision of essential health services at the secondary level of care in Somalia, focusing on building strong and resilient hospital care at Hudur General Hospital in the southwestern state and Dhusamareb General Hospital. in Galmudug state, which are currently unable to meet the demand and health care needs of the populations within their respective catchment areas. Developed under the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Health, in close collaboration with the WHO and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), the project aims to achieve universal health coverage (UHC) by strengthening hospital care for the integrated provision of secondary health services and intensive care services, as well as improving the hospital management system for better management and effective service delivery.
“We would like to express our sincere thanks to the Government of Italy for its valuable support as it is a key donor supporting secondary care and hospital management in Somalia. This support will help Somalia advance the provision of critical care for patients and strengthening referral systems, as well as improve the overall credibility and trust in public health facilities, a crucial goal for Somalia's health system. Somalia,” said HE Dr. Fawziya Abikar Nur, Federal Minister of Health and Human Services.
“In 2019, only 27% of the population in Somalia had access to essential health services,” said Dr. Mamunur Rahman Malik, WHO Representative and Head of Mission in Somalia. “Thanks to the support of the Government of Italy and AICS, with this project we will have the opportunity to change this narrative by offering crucial life-saving services to more Somalis, in particular those who are vulnerable and live in remote places. Furthermore, the services offered are aligned with the revised essential package of health services for Somalia.”
“The project will contribute to the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus (HDPN) in Somalia, by linking the short-term goal of improving secondary-level care with the government's long-term development goal of improving essential health services. It will also foster peace and development among the communities it serves by helping to address the root causes of tension and marginalization, and increasing equity in health,” said HE Alberto Vecchi, Italian Ambassador to Somalia.
Over a period of 2 years, among other things, this project will aim to: optimize basic primary care services; fill existing gaps in the provision of specialized secondary health care (eg, emergency, critical, surgical care); offer referral services to at least 5 districts in each state; use solar energy to supply oxygen; improve waste management systems; ensure gender balance in skills development and employment; improve hospital management and ownership by local health authorities; and improve the capacity of health personnel to better respond to emergencies. In general, and in addition to being in line with the new 2020 Essential Health Services Package (EPHS) for Somalia, this project will complement efforts to achieve the UHC goal and ensure health for all.
The official announcement follows a previous signing ceremony and high-level commitment ceremony held on April 21 and January 11, 2022, respectively, in Mogadishu. During the latter, the Federal Ministry of Health, WHO, the Italian Embassy and Mr. Luca Maestripieri, Director of AICS and Minister Plenipotentiary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, collectively agreed to work together to 'Improve health services in Somalia using a hospital-based secondary care approach' in the future throughout Somalia.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated the importance of health research in finding solutions to health challenges. To address the most urgent health priorities using evidence-based solutions, the Ministry of Health and Human Services of the Federal Government of Somalia and the National Institute of Health (NIH), with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners, convened the first health research conference in Garowe, Puntland, from January 30 to February 1, 2022.
Some of the brightest Somali minds gathered at the event ─ 200 national and international researchers ─ to present 51 previously unpublished research briefs, showcasing new evidence and best practices around public health action in Somalia that no one had ever researched before in the country nor did it have any previously generated evidence on these priority public health issues. Overall, Somali authors submitted 91 abstracts; the rest were already published or did not meet the expected criteria.
Dignitaries who participated in the conference included: HE Dr. Fawziya Abikar Nur, Federal Minister of Health and Human Services; HE Dr. Jama Farah Hassan, Minister of Health, Puntland; HE Per Lindgarde, Swedish Ambassador to Somalia; Dr. Mamunur Rahman Malik, WHO Representative in Somalia and Head of Mission. Also participating were representatives from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the Swedish Public Health Agency (PHAS), and the African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET), and colleagues from Umea University and the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.
Professor Khalif Bile, Chairman of the NIH Board of Directors and Chairman of the NIH Research Conference Scientific Committee, spearheaded the event and took it from idea to reality. Under the leadership of NIH Executive Director Dr. Abdifatah Diriye Ahmed, NIH Public Health Specialist and Research Coordinator Dr. Mukhtar Bulale organized the conference, bringing together all relevant stakeholders.
Institutions that support the NIH
WHO provided financial support to the conference, through the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research (AHPSR), which aims to build health systems research capacity for low- and middle-income countries and use new knowledge and evidence from public health research to establish policies that build the support system. AHPSR promotes the generation and use of health policy and systems research to improve health systems in low- and middle-income countries, such as Somalia, while building the research capacity of institutions, systems, and individuals.
Other WHO partners supporting this first research conference include PHAS, which provided financial support to the conference, and collaborates with NIH, as well as AFENET and SIDA, which provide regular technical support to NIH activities.
Academia members from 32 public, private, and international universities attended the conference and supported the NIH team at various stages of planning and implementation.
Budding young Somali researchers spark a ray of hope
Conference participants included scientific and technical committees, organizers, presenters, stakeholders, panelists and partners. The event's scientific committee evaluated the abstracts, advised some of the authors whose abstracts needed further refinement, and developed guidelines and checklists for peer review of studies.
Of the 51 researchers, seven were women. In addition, 10 trainees from the first Frontline Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP-Frontline) conducted in Somalia in 2021, with the support of WHO, PHAS, AFENET and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. United States (US CDC), offered support to carry out the research conference.
Sadia Hussein, one of two trainees in the first FETP cohort to submit an abstract and a WHO public health specialist, explained that she came up with the idea for her study while working in Deynile, Banadir, as part of fieldwork. of the FETP. . He added that he enjoyed participating in the conference, as it was a forum where researchers and experts met with policymakers to showcase their research skills, while highlighting gaps in the health system and linking research with the overall health picture.
The researchers presented a wide range of topics.
The researchers presented their findings on six topics that had been selected after considering the Essential Package of Health Services (Somalia EPHS 2020), universal health coverage (UHC), and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The researchers presented 10 abstracts under the theme of health systems; 15 as part of reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child and adolescent health; 18 in communicable diseases; 8 as part of noncommunicable diseases. The panelists made 12 informative presentations related to the topics of production and dissemination of health research; and research training and capacity building, linking research with action.
Presenters stimulated thought-provoking discussions between sessions, including strengthening pharmacovigilance and drug regulation; increase and motivate human resources for health; occupational safety of health workers with the introduction of new diagnostics, improving access to medical care for women; and provide compassionate care while maintaining the dignity and privacy of patients. They discussed how to reduce and eliminate the harmful practice of female genital mutilation (FGM); and hiring community midwife assistants to improve maternal health care in rural areas. The only experimental study that was presented focused on 'Effects of coenzyme Q10 on peripheral nerve injury: an electrophysiological study', presented by a university professor.
In addition, participants discussed how to address the high burden of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in Somalia and the need to deploy community health workers to improve early detection of the disease, in order to achieve the SDG target of ending epidemics of the disease. tuberculosis by 2030. These rich discussions are intended to spur changes in policy and programming eventually.
Introduction of the first Somali journal of health action
As another important milestone, the NIH Board of Directors launched the Somali Health Action Journal (SHAJ) at the conference. This is the first Somali health journal to receive articles, facilitate peer review, motivate Somalis to do more research, write and publish new articles, and take advantage of opportunities to disseminate and use research for policy and design of useful programs. .
The editors of the journal pledged to support young Somali researchers by advising them where possible. The magazine aims to inspire the young and future generations of Somali health professionals to study different topics that will lead to innovations in the health of the country.
Research must address the country's problems
Her Excellency Dr. Fawziya Abikar Nur, Minister of Health and Human Services of Somalia, commended the NIH, its board of directors, and scientific committees for motivating several young Somalis to present their findings on critical health issues.
“I encourage you to document these national efforts ─ both what works and what doesn't and why ─ but, above all, provide us with solutions that can address the challenges we face,” he said, while thanking the partners who made the event a resounding success.
While praising the Government of Somalia for its exemplary role in organizing such a historic event, praising international researchers for visiting Puntland for the historic meeting, and partners like PHAS for their support, Dr. Mamunur Rahman Malik inspired young and experienced Somali researchers. announcing that WHO will work with NIH to introduce state-of-the-art libraries in all Somali Ministry of Health buildings. He also added that the WHO would award young researchers nominated by the NIH for the best research presented at future conferences.
Dr. Malik reminded the audience that in 1990 it was noted that only 10% of global health research was allocated to address 90% of global health problems. A commission set up to tackle this problem warned that if this disparity did not change, the world would experience a huge burden of infectious diseases, increasing rates of tuberculosis, malaria and epidemics of non-communicable diseases, including heart disease. As predicted, Dr. Malik explained, the world is now experiencing a high burden of these diseases, including infectious and non-communicable diseases.
“I encourage you to develop a national health research agenda and improve collaboration between the public and private sectors, especially universities,” said Dr. Mamunur Malik. “In addition, research must contribute to improving national health. For example, diarrhea and malaria contribute to a high burden of disease, but people do not have access to health services. Research should help tackle problems like this and how to improve access in fragile settings like Somalia, tackle health inequalities and increase access to medicines so people can lead healthier lives.”
Putting Somalia on the global research map
On behalf of the NIH team, Dr. Mukhtar Bulale explained that the sessions were successful and led to rich discussions answering questions, which was an iconic symbol illustrating useful nationally owned health research.
“Although we started small, this conference has put Somalia on the global research map. Seeing young researchers give their best has given us immense hope that Somalia's health research development is undergoing a recovery phase. We saw at the conference a unity of purpose, solidarity, and enthusiasm for research partnerships and solutions to challenges. I urge stakeholders to make sure they don't miss out on the opportunity to support these young and dynamic researchers,” said Dr. Bulale.
At the end of the conference, the Federal Ministry of Health, NIH and stakeholders advocated for sustained investment in health research to further promote the 2020 Essential Health Services Package, which would benefit the Somali population. They also resolved to promote health system research, linking it to public policy making, while ensuring that it focuses on addressing existing barriers to health service delivery. This implies the development of a national research agenda to invest (attention, resources and skills) in research that results in better health outcomes for populations and thematic areas where more evidence is required to inform policies and strategies. Together, they also committed to fostering public-private sector cooperation in health system research and promoting the development of innovative technologies and approaches. The partners resolved to strengthen the links between evidence generation and healthcare provision, while calling on all national and international stakeholders to build the capacity of learning institutions and facilitate high-quality research in the world. country.
Donors, such as the German government, play an important role in the COVID-19 response planMOGADISHU, Somalia, October 26, 2021 / APO Group / -
Somalia has stepped up its battle to end the COVID-19 pandemic after receiving 163,000 doses of Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine from the German government today through the COVAX facility.
“The German government has provided invaluable support to Somalia in the fight against COVID-19 and we would like to thank them for this,” said Dr Fawziya Abikar Nur, Minister of Health and Social Services of Somalia.
“So far, 1.85% of our population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. With the support of Germany, we can step up our efforts to ensure that more eligible Somalis have access to life-saving vaccines. It is only when we join forces that we become strong enough to eradicate diseases, like COVID-19, in Somalia and the rest of the world. "
“We stand firmly on Somalia's side to protect its people from COVID-19,” said Sascha Kienzle, deputy ambassador to Somalia. “As the second largest donor to the global response to COVID-19, and one of the co-founders of ACT-A, a COVID-19 vaccine distribution platform, we understand the importance of '' ensure safe and equitable access to these vaccines. vaccines for each country in order to end this pandemic and ensure vaccine equity. I hope our support will enable Somalia to immunize more of its citizens, empowering them to lead healthy lives and contribute to the country's economy and development goals.
In August 2021, the German government donated around 1.3 million face masks to the WHO for Somalis to use and protect themselves from COVID-19 and other infectious respiratory diseases.
“Donors, such as the German government, are playing an important role in the COVID-19 response plan. In collaboration with the Federal Government of Somalia and UNICEF, WHO is supporting the vaccination campaign to improve adoption and use all means to reach every eligible Somali to receive a vaccine against COVID-19 ” said Dr Mamunur Rahman Malik, WHO Representative in Somalia.
“Vaccination is an effective intervention to stop the spread of COVID-19 and donated doses, through the COVAX facility, play an important role in improving equitable and safe access to vaccines in Somalia. UNICEF is grateful to the German government and remains firm in its commitment to support the Ministry of Health in managing cold chain systems to deliver vaccines safely and in deploying community mobilizers to encourage adoption. vaccine, ”said UNICEF Somalia representative Mohamed Ayoya.
In addition to frontline workers, people over the age of 50 and those with pre-existing health conditions continue to be priorities for immunization. Somalia also offers vaccines to all people aged 18 and over.
When vaccines are a priority for essential workers and those most at risk of complications from COVID-19, health and other essential services will continue to function and deaths can be prevented. Unless health workers and other essential workers are protected, health systems and other essential services will remain overwhelmed, and the most vulnerable populations, including children, will continue to lose access to vital services, risking harm. 'reverse years of progress.
As of October 25, 2021, 652,886 doses have been administered in the country. So far, 289,925 (1.85%) people have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and 362,961 (2.32%) have been partially vaccinated.
Since the start of the COVID-19 epidemic in March 2020, Somalia has reported 21,998 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 1,208 deaths, as of October 25, 2021.
We all have a role to play in supporting each other as a society and in making mental health a reality in SomaliaMOGADISHU, Somalia, October 10, 2021 / APO Group / -
For this year's World Mental Health Day, the WHO global theme is “Mental health care for all: let's make it happen”. Over the past year, there is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the mental health of millions of people around the world, especially healthcare workers and other primary workers. line, people living alone and people with pre-existing mental health problems. . In addition, at a time when mental, neurological and psychosocial support services were perhaps most needed, there have been significant disruptions in essential health care, including mental health services at all levels, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, there are still reasons for optimism - with improving COVID-19 vaccine coverage, more people are accessing health services, including for mental health. In addition, at the 2021 World Health Assembly, governments around the world recognized the need to develop quality mental health services at all levels - a task that WHO continues to strive towards at all levels. alongside governments around the world, including Somalia.
Somalia has been particularly affected by mental health problems due to decades of protracted conflict, which have severely disrupted social cohesion, shattered social norms and led nearly one in three Somalis to suffer from some form of mental health problem. Mental Health. In response, the Federal Government of Somalia and the United Nations (UN) in Somalia have joined forces to reiterate their support for this year's World Mental Health Day theme, as well as to deliver an additional key message specific to Somalia: Take bold action and deliver quality mental health care and health services in the country.
“We all have a role to play in supporting each other as a society and in making mental health a reality in Somalia,” said SE. Dr Fawziya Abikar Nur, Minister of Health and Social Services of Somalia. “We can support and listen to people, and their friends and relatives, who have been the worst victims of violence and conflict for years. We can also work with them to confidently discuss their mental health issues with health workers and also advocate and mobilize for quality mental health services to be available at all levels, including at home. primary level.
The honorable minister added that communities must end the stigma surrounding mental health, seek the right support and speak more openly about their problems to manage stress and improve people's well-being.
To address these challenges, the federal government worked with the WHO to develop a mental health strategy for 2019-2022 and is currently finalizing a mental health policy. In addition, with the support of the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund from 2020 to 2021 and as part of a partnership between the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), National University of Somalia and WHO, the federal government led the implementation of a mental health project in the context of “health for peace” with particular emphasis in Baidoa, Kismayo , Dollow, Galkaayo and Mogadishu. This project has helped healthcare workers understand, treat and provide more care for people in need of mental health support, as well as raise awareness of mental health issues. The project is also generating evidence on the interdependence between mental health and peace, a topic that has not been well studied or studied anywhere in the world.
“Today more than ever, Somalis need mental health support. As a resilient society, Somalis have suffered the effects of protracted conflict and health emergency after health emergency, ”said Dr Mamunur Rahman Malik, WHO Representative in Somalia. “Together with the federal government and our partners, we are ensuring that the WHO action agenda on the mental health gap is mainstreamed at all levels of care, particularly at the community and primary levels. "
“The conflict in Somalia has an impact on millions of children. Continued exposure to violence, fear and uncertainty can have a devastating impact on their behavior, learning, emotional and social development for years to come, ”said UNICEF Representative in Somalia Mohamed Ayoya. “It is our job and our collective responsibility to help these children recover and regain some sense of normalcy. In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, WHO and partners, UNICEF is providing children - who have witnessed extreme violence and loss - with psychological and psychosocial support. "
"No health system can be fair if it does not provide mental health services to those who need them most, which is why UNDP Somalia supports counseling and mediation for vulnerable groups, including women. victims of violence and families facing conflict, ”said United Nations resident Jocelyn Mason. Acting Coordinator and Resident Representative of UNDP in Somalia.
On this year's World Mental Health Day, the WHO Somalia country office strongly supports the global theme of “Mental health care for all: let's make it happen” and will continue to work on it. working closely with government and all partners to improve quality mental health services at all levels in Somalia.