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.