The government of Japan has recently allocated a grant to the World Health Organization (WHO) country office in Somalia to expand access to life-saving health care for vulnerable communities living in hard-to-reach areas that are severely impacted by the ongoing drought.
With 7.8 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, the current drought is one of the worst in Somalia’s history. Recognising the need for an urgent response to save lives, the government of Japan has provided these funds through the Japanese Supplementary Budget.
This funding will be used to strengthen community-based health and nutrition interventions, as well as support primary health care and nutrition stabilisation centres in the hard-to-reach areas.
This funding will allow WHO to bring health care close to these vulnerable communities living in catastrophic living conditions and improve access to basic and lifesaving health care services in some of the worst hit areas in the country.
The funding will also be used for real-time detection and response to any epidemic by frontline health workers.
The government of Japan has been a global leader in enhancing universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals’ core principle to ensure that “no one is left behind.”
This partnership between WHO and the Government of Japan will help to improve access to health care for drought-affected communities, especially those living in hard-to-reach areas and contribute to building a resilient primary health care system, which are foundational for achieving universal health coverage in fragile settings.
“Ensuring that no one is left behind is central to the achievement of universal health coverage,” says H.E. Ken Okaniwa, Ambassador of Japan to Somalia.
“This funding will support WHO and the Government of Somalia to meet the urgent health care needs of people affected by the severe drought and food insecurity crisis, including women and children who bear the brunt of these catastrophic events, as well as contributing to the resilience and capacity of the health system into the future.”
Targeting 29 of the districts most affected by drought, the funding will support WHO to deploy community health workers in hard-to-reach areas and also provide outreach services for the vulnerable communities.
Approximately 2.78 million vulnerable people including over 300 000 internally displaced people living in catastrophic and dire living conditions in these areas are expected to benefit from this expanded life-saving health care support.
WHO will also provide essential medical supplies, including life-saving medicines, to the primary health care units and nutrition stabilisation centres across these districts. This will help these basic health care units to meet the extra demand for health care and continue with routine and essential health care services without any disruption