The Government, WHO and Key Partners come together to form Solidarity Chain
– Somalia joined the world in marking World Health Day, which falls on 7 April, by meeting with representatives of UN agencies in Mogadishu, to form a human, solidarity chain. Solidarity chains were formed around the world to symbolize how stronger partnerships and joint commitment are vital ingredients in ensuring better health care.
This year’s World Health Day focused on raising awareness of how improved primary health care, which is the health care provided when community members first access a health facility or medical practitioner, can be used as a means to attain universal health coverage. Universal health coverage means that all people and communities can access quality health care, in an equitable manner, without being exposed to financial hardships.
Somalia is currently in the process of finalizing a roadmap to move towards Universal Health Coverage. This roadmap complements Somalia’s national health policy goals, and takes into consideration the current health situation across the country. With support from WHO and key partners, including donors and UN agencies, Somalia will look at ways to support communities so they can access health services
“Somalis have the best resilience in the world,” said HE Dr Fauziya Abikar, Health Minister of Somalia’s Federal Government, at the celebrations. “If we focus on primary health care, where a mother and child can get the best services, we can contain bigger challenges.”
Representing UN agencies in Somalia, the Head of the UN Nations Support Office (UNSOS), Mr Amadu Kamara, stated, “For a country like Somalia, where life expectancy for women and men is so low, improving primary health care is of utmost importance. We express our solidarity and support, on behalf of all UN agencies in the country, towards using primary health care as a fundamental approach to achieving better health care.”
“Between 80 to 90 percent of essential health services can be delivered at primary health care level, including in emergencies,” said Dr Mamunur Malik, the WHO Representative for Somalia. He added that WHO and Member States are promoting family practice-based, primary health care as a way to improve overall health situations in countries. Dr Malik called upon all actors, from policymakers to UN agencies and individuals in the community to come together to work towards “health for all, by all” – a concept that is equitable and attainable. He also commended health workers in Somalia, particularly women, for their dedication to providing health services under challenging circumstances in the country.
In Hargeisa, on World Health Day, health authorities presided over a graduation ceremony for twelve medical doctors from rural, remote areas, after they completed a nine-month training in emergency obstetric care, aimed at saving mothers’ and newborns’ lives. The training was conducted by health authorities, WHO, the University of Hargeisa and other partners.
During a planning workshop held in Hargeisa, WHO staff also joined hands to form a solidarity chain.
In Baidoa, health authorities and UN agencies came together to celebrate the occasion and raise awareness around universal health coverage and ways in which Somalis can gain access to better health care.
In other events held to commemorate the World Health Day, also the birth of the World Health Organization in 1948, Dr Mamunur Malik held bilateral discussions with HE Dr Fauziya A Nur, to reaffirm their commitment to strengthening Somalia’s health systems. WHO also held an open question and answer session on Twitter (@WHOSom) on Sunday, where members of the public had the opportunity to talk to a WHO health expert, Dr Rizwan Humayun, to learn more about universal health coverage and the health situation in Somalia.