Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, who ended his first visit to Somalia, said the UN health agency will focus on mental health care, maternal and child health care as well as communicable and non-communicable disease control.
“I urge our donors to recognise the political will that has been demonstrated to ensure the well-being of all Somalis.
“And also to invest in the future of Somalia through the health of its people,’’ Al-Mandhari said in a statement issued on Tuesday evening at the end of his visit to the Horn of Africa nation.
While in Somalia, Al-Mandhari said he launched the country’s roadmap to Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and later met with representatives of UN agencies, health leaders and partners, displaced Somalis, and health workers to review the health response and identify ways of strengthening WHO’s work in the country.
Through its UHC roadmap, WHO said Somalia aims to increase the number of people, who have access to health services, especially the poorest and those living in hard-to-reach areas so that no Somali is left behind.
Al-Mandhari called for the allocation of more resources in order for UHC to become a reality in Somalia, which he said is a key player when it comes to advancing the health agenda in the region.
“In the past five years, the country has made key advances in eradicating polio, controlling measles and cholera, and reducing maternal mortality rates,’’ said Al-Mandhari.
According to the WHO official, Somalia is a wealthy country with a lot of potential not only its history and natural resources but also in its people.
Al-Mandhari noted that leaders, UN agencies and health partners were committed to working together to meet the expectations of Somalis.
He said that good health and well-being were the key foundations of a prosperous society.
More than 30 years of civil war, coupled with natural disasters such as drought and floods, have weakened Somalia’s health system and left more than three million Somalis in need of health aid, WHO said.
The UN health agency says famine and insecurity have contributed to the spread of malnutrition and disease outbreaks, and lack of access to health care has resulted in Somalia having some of the lowest health indicators in the world.
“During my visit, I met Somalis who have shown great resilience, in spite of the many challenges they have faced.
“I met children suffering from malnutrition, chronic diseases and other conditions being treated in clinics and facilities supported by WHO and partners,’’ said Al-Mandhari.
“I also met front line health workers, who are dedicated to helping their people no matter the difficulties.
“Our job is to support them so that they can continue to save lives every day,’’ said Al-Mandhari.
Edited by Fatima Sule/Abdulfatah Babatunde
UN warns of looming humanitarian crisis in Somalia
The UN on Tuesday called on the international community to help Somalia avert a major humanitarian crisis due to the combined effect of devastating floods, desert locusts and the widespread impact of COVID-19.
Justin Brady, head of Office for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Somalia warned that the political and security gains made by Somalia over recent years could be at risk of reversal if swift action is not taken to avert the crisis.
“We expect to see a portion of the crops this year lost to the locust infestation, which will compound the food security and nutrition situation for many Somalis,” he added.
The UN official said Somalia’s coping mechanisms are significantly less than those of the neighboring countries.
“Therefore, the impact of floods, locusts and COVID-19 is not simply humanitarian but has the potential to reverse some of the political and security gains that the international community has invested in over the past decade,” said Brady.
According to the UN, about 500,000 people have been displaced by recent floods in Somalia’s central regions, while the country is also dealing with a severe locust infestation which threatens food security and nutrition for many.
The UN said the pandemic has led to major socio-economic disruptions across Somalia, including a reduction in remittances from the Diaspora, itself a mainstay for many Somalis, and a reduction in casual labor opportunities due to COVID-19 restrictions, making it difficult for many to cope.
“We need to continue to work together and expand the coordination with the private sector, civil society and have more engagement with the diaspora,” Brady said.
He said the UN‘s warning takes into account Somalia’s inherent structural weaknesses, which make the country far more vulnerable than the other countries in the region, and calls for an all hands on deck approach to avert the worst.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said it has acquired equipment to help eradicate the locusts in infested areas in locations such as Hargeisa, Galmudug and Puntland. The infestation is Somalia‘s worst outbreak in 25 years.
The FAO Country Representative in Somalia, Etienne Peterschmitt, believes that the impact of the current desert locust outbreak in Somalia could, by September, increase the number of Somalis facing food insecurity or severe hunger by half a million.
Somalia was already struggling with floods and an invasion of desert locusts in the northern parts of the country when COVID-19 struck, further aggravating the situation by putting pressure on the country’s fragile health system, thereby causing a major public health crisis.
“Unless we are able to rapidly scale up our response operations, unless we get adequate funding from our donors, we will not be able to respond to this need of the government and that window is closing very rapidly,” said the WHO Country Representative for Somalia, Mamunur Rahman Malik.
According to the UN, while some half a million people have been displaced, overall, more than a million people have been affected by flash and riverine floods in Somalia.
Somalia confirms 66 new COVID-19 cases as tally hits 2,089
Abikar said 19 patients recovered from the respiratory disease, bringing the total number of people who have been discharged from hospitals to 390.
The minister said no death was recorded in the last 24 hours as the total number of fatalities remains at 79.
She said 42 of the latest cases are male while 24 others are female.
The COVID-19 cases have surged at a time that Somalia is struggling to contain floods that have affected nearly a million people and desert locusts that are devouring crops and pasture in Somaliland, Puntland and Galmudug; creating a triple threat.
The Horn of African nation has instituted measures to contain the possible spread of COVID19 including closing schools, banning large gatherings and suspending international and domestic passenger flights.
Somalia confirms 47 new COVID-19 cases as tally hits 2,023
Fawziya Abikar, health minister said majority of the cases were recorded in the self-declared region of Somaliland which has 28, Banadir nine while Puntland and Jubaland have five cases each.
Abikar said 13 patients recovered from the respiratory disease, bringing the total number of people who have been discharged from hospitals to 361.
The minister said one patient died in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of fatalities since the pandemic was reported in the country to 79.
She said 38 of the latest cases are male while nine others are female.
The Horn of African nation has instituted measures to contain the possible spread of COVID19, including closing schools, banning large gatherings and suspending international and domestic passenger flights.
Somalia confirms 60 new COVID-19 cases as tally hits 1,976
Health Minister Fawziya Abikar said 21 patients recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of people who have been discharged from hospitals to 348.
The minister said five patients died of the disease, bringing the total number of fatalities since the pandemic was reported in the country to 78.
Somalia has instituted measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 including closing schools, banning large gatherings and suspending international and domestic passenger flights.
At least 10 killed in Somalia roadside blast
Death toll from the roadside blast in Somalia has risen to 10 while six others were injured after a roadside blast struck a commuter minibus outside Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Sunday, an official said.
Ismael Mukhtar Omar, a government spokesman confirmed the death toll, saying the landmine exploded on the road between Mogadishu-Afgoye on Sunday morning.
“At least 10 people were killed and six others injured when a landmine exploded on a car on the road between Mogadishu and Afgoye,” Ismael said in a statement.
The commuter bus which was carrying around 20 passengers was heading to Mogadishu from Lower Shabelle region when the incident happened.
Photos from the scene show the commuter vehicle extensively damaged. The vehicle ran into a landmine suspected to have been planted on the road.
No one has claimed responsibility for the latest attack but militant group, al-Shabab often stages such attacks in a bid to topple the internationally-backed government.
AU, UNICEF condemn killing of health workers in Somalia
The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the UN Children‘s Fund (UNICEF) on Sunday in separate statements condemned the abduction and deliberate killing of seven health workers and a civilian at a local health center in southern Somalia.
Henrietta Fore, UNICEF executive director said these heinous attacks interfere with fundamental protections of the right to health and the perpetrators must be held accountable.
“These health workers were heroes, putting their safety on the line every day to provide lifesaving care to children and families. We will hold their dedication and sacrifice in our hearts as we continue our work to reach vulnerable children across the country,” Fore said in a statement issued on Saturday evening.
“I am shocked by the senseless killings of civilians. Deliberate attacks against health professionals and facilities are a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law and constitute a war crime in non-international armed conflicts,” said Madeira.
He said the health workers are putting their lives on the line to save others in very difficult circumstances.
No arrest has so far been made and no group has claimed responsibility for the murder.
1st LD Writethru: Seven killed in huge roadside blast in Somalia
At least seven people were killed and others injured in a huge roadside blast in the Hawa Abdi area on the outskirts of Somalia’s capital here on Sunday morning, police and witnesses have said.
According to a police officer who declined to be named, the incident happened when a minibus carrying passengers to Mogadishu from Afgoye town, about 30 km southwest of the capital, hit a land mine planted along the road.
“So far, we can confirm that at least seven people were killed and others injured in the blast, but the figure could rise,” the officer said.
So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Several passengers killed in huge roadside blast in Somalia
Several passengers were killed and others injured in a huge roadside blast in the Hawa Abdi area on the outskirts of Somalia’s capital here on Sunday morning, police and witnesses have said.
The police said the incident happened when a minibus carrying passengers hit a land mine planted along the road.
Somalia confirms 88 new COVID-19 cases as tally hits 1,916
Health Minister Fawziya Abikar said 17 patients recovered in the last 48 hours, bringing the total number of people who have been discharged from hospitals to 327.
The minister said one patient succumbed to the disease, bringing the total number of fatalities since the pandemic was reported in the country to 73.
According to the UN, the cases are surging at a time that Somalia is struggling to contain floods that have affected nearly a million people and desert locusts that are devouring crops and pasture.
The Horn of African nation has instituted measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 including closing schools, banning large gatherings and suspending international and domestic passenger flights.
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