Monday December 11, 2023
By SAAD MUSE
MOGADISHU, (CAJ News) – A COLLABORATIVE effort between the World Health Organization (WHO) and Germany has enabled over 7 million people in Somalia access to improved health and nutrition services since November 2022.
The German funding has enabled WHO to support the federal and state ministries of health to reach 65 percent to 70 percent of people living in the country’s 74 drought-affected districts, through 281 health facilities.
This support has also helped WHO Somalia to strengthen community- and facility-based disease surveillance systems by deploying 2 195 vaccinators and community health workers (CHWs).
A Director of Immunization at the Federal Ministry of Health said from identification of suspected cases, contact tracing, laboratory confirmation and treatment of patients throughout the global COVID-19 pandemic to managing the unprecedented drought and resultant cholera and measles outbreaks in the country, this German-supported introduction of community-based surveillance by WHO Somalia has helped save thousands of lives.
“The network of CHWs not only helped report disease outbreaks and instigate investigations but also collected data, which helped senior managers at the Ministry of Health and WHO to develop disease patterns and, ultimately, plan the targeted and timely integrated health and nutrition response to ongoing health emergencies across the country,” the official said.
Decades of conflict, frequent epidemics of cholera and measles, widespread poverty and recurrent climatic shocks, including the ongoing drought emergency, continue to weaken Somalia’s health systems.
The acute malnutrition burden in Somalia is expected to reach about 1,5 million children in 2024, including 331 000 children likely to suffer severe acute malnutrition.
From January to November 2023, 16 036 cholera cases, including 43 deaths, were reported.
About 400–600 cholera cases on average are reported each week. This situation is expected to worsen due to floods.
Dr Sindani Ireneaus Sebit, WHO Representative to Somalia expressed gratitude for the German support.
“This timely assistance has helped avert a major health crisis and saved countless lives. We are grateful to the Government of Germany for its unwavering commitment to the people of Somalia,” Sebit said.