Somalia Launches US$11.4 Million Project to Strengthen Medical Emergency Services

Somalia has initiated a groundbreaking project aimed at enhancing the medical emergency services at federal and state referral hospitals.

With a budget of US$11.4 million, generously provided by the World Bank under the Somalia Crisis Recovery Project (SCRP), this transformative initiative seeks to address the pressing need for improved critical care capacities within the country’s healthcare system.

The project, titled ‘Strengthening the Medical Emergency Services at Federal and State Referral Hospitals,’ will be implemented by the United Nations’ World Health Organization (WHO). It comes at a crucial time when Somalia’s health system is grappling with high levels of communicable and non-communicable diseases, injuries, and disabilities resulting from ongoing conflict and the widespread use of improvised explosive devices.

Abdi Tawane, Co-Project Manager of the Somalia Crisis Recovery Project, highlighted the significance of this undertaking.

“We have started important work to strengthen Somalia’s emergency healthcare through the Somalia Crisis Recovery Project. By upgrading facilities, training staff, and coordinating health services, we are building sustainable capacity to respond to health crises and serve citizens across the country. This targeted support will have a significant impact on Somalia’s healthcare system both now and in the future.”

The primary focus of the project is to establish and operationalize emergency, critical, and operative care services in eight selected hospitals nationwide. By doing so, these hospitals will be able to function effectively as regional referral centers, providing comprehensive emergency and critical care services aligned with the Government’s vision of integrated health services outlined in the Essential Package for Health Services (EPHS 2020) of Somalia.

Saleiman Sheik Umar, Director General of the Ministry of Finance, emphasized the importance of collaboration and transparent reporting for the success of the project, stating, “Close collaboration among all partners and open reporting to our Project Implementation Unit will be vital to demonstrate governance and maximize outcomes for Somali citizens. With transparency and shared commitment, I’m hopeful this project will save many lives while also sustaining public trust in our institutions.”

The project aims to strengthen the referral mechanisms between primary healthcare facilities and higher levels of healthcare in the country, establishing a model of integrated healthcare delivery that addresses the health needs of the population across the life course.

Dr. Ali Hadji Adan Abubakar, Minister of Health and Human Services for the Federal Government of Somalia, emphasized the positive impact of collaboration between the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Finance, World Bank, and WHO in Somalia.

“Somalia made great strides during the COVID-19 pandemic to strengthen national capacity to prepare, respond, and recover from public health crises, with the support of partners like WHO and the World Bank. More action is needed to meet the immediate needs of the population and strengthen surveillance and laboratory systems to detect and respond to emerging public health threats.” He said.

The Somalia Crisis Recovery Project (SCRP) is a comprehensive program aimed at supporting the country’s recovery from past disasters while enhancing resilience to future shocks.

Recognizing the importance of a robust health system in the face of climate and conflict-related crises, the project focuses on building resilience within the healthcare sector.

This includes establishing emergency telehealth networks, upgrading disease early warning systems, and training community health workers in first aid and trauma response. The project aims to lay the foundation for a more resilient healthcare system throughout Somalia, ensuring the basic right to health for all Somalis.

Dr. Mamunur Rahman Malik, WHO Representative and Head of Mission to Somalia, commended the commitment of the Federal and State Ministries of Health.

He underscored the significance of the project in improving emergency and critical care services, promoting universal health coverage, and preparing the country for future pandemics.

“Improving these services will also enable the country to be better prepared and ready to manage critical care patients for any future pandemics and also promote the enjoyment of health as human rights.” Dr. Malik stated.

The project’s kick-off meeting involved an official launch and an in-depth discussion on project implementation between WHO, the project implementation unit at the Ministry of Finance, the Federal Ministry of Health, and Federal Member States.

Participants reviewed the implementation plan and committed to close collaboration to ensure the successful achievement of project development goals and objectives within the agreed timeline, thereby strengthening critical care units across Somalia.

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