Visit of the WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean to Somalia – Somalia

Mogadishu, 9 May 2022 – On 9 May 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari, arrived in Somalia for a 3-day visit. He was accompanied by the Director of Commercial Services and Operations of the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, Dr Sussan Bassiri.

Federal Minister of Health and Social Services, HE Dr Fawziya Abikar Nur, other senior government officials and WHO Representative in Somalia, Dr Mamunur Rahman Malik welcomed Dr Al-Mandhari, who is visiting Somalia for the second time since 2019. He is visiting Somalia at a time when the country is rolling out an essential package of health services (EPHS 2020). The development and implementation of the EPHS 2020 is considered the largest public sector project in Somalia’s history which aims to increase access to health care, improve delivery and coverage of health services using the primary health care approach. WHO has supported the development of the Somalia EPHS 2020 through a wide range of technical support involving its regional office and headquarters, which includes a cost of disease burden analysis, as well as the design cost-effective but high-impact interventions to deliver. at different levels of care. EPHS 2020 will be funded by the World Bank and the Global Financing Facility over the next 5 years on a budget of US$100 million. The EPHS 2020 will be the main driver for the country to achieve universal health coverage.

The WHO country office will continue to support the Ministry of Health and Social Services of the Federal Government of Somalia in rolling out the EPHS in the country, as well as the delivery of other effective interventions to protect health, saving lives and building resilient health. through its recently developed “Country Cooperation Strategy for WHO and Somalia 2021-2025”.

As part of his program, Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari met HE Dr. Fawziya Abikar Nur and other ministry officials at his office on May 9, 2022 and discussed the ongoing collaborative program between his ministry and the office of WHO countries. The WHO Regional Director thanked the Minister for her leadership over the past 5 years and expressed appreciation for her key role in guiding health sector reforms in the country and her tireless work to improve the health and well-being of the population in one of the most difficult and complex contexts. and fragile context. The WHO Regional Director recalled that these reforms she has initiated for the health sector will go a long way towards achieving universal health coverage and supporting the implementation of the WHO Regional Vision 2023: Health for all by all.

The WHO Regional Director also visited De Martino Hospital in Mogadishu – the main public hospital that serves the country’s capital and was the country’s main hospital treating COVID-19 patients. The WHO regional director commended the health workers for their hard work in saving lives with limited resources and in the face of multiple challenges.

Addressing the health workers, Dr Al-Mandhari further reiterated that in line with the spirit of Vision 2023 “Health for all by all”, WHO would continue to support Somalia in strengthening the health system. infrastructure and skills of health workers, while simultaneously preparing for and responding to any health emergencies that may arise.

Later, Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari, accompanied by HE Dr. Fawziya Abikar Nur and other senior government officials, visited 2 landmark achievements from WHO’s COVID-19 response activities. First, they visited the new pressure swing adsorption (PSA) oxygen plant that has been installed at De Martino Hospital with the support of WHO, which helps to fill a large gap in the availability of high quality medical oxygen in the country for COVID-19 and other health conditions. The containerized duplex PSA system serves 25 intensive care unit beds while simultaneously filling 100 40-liter oxygen cylinders per day. WHO plans to set up similar containerized duplex PSA plants in several other locations as part of the Organization’s vision to close medical oxygen access gaps in hospitals and primary level care. .

After visiting the PSA plant, the Minister and Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari paid a visit to the National Public Health Reference Laboratory (NPHRL) in Mogadishu, where the Regional Director saw how far Somalia has come in this regarding laboratory testing and the new genome sequencing capability. The NPHRL was supported by the WHO in 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to achieve molecular diagnostic capability for SARS-COV-2 testing when there was no testing facility for COVID-19 in the country. The NPHRL using rt-PCR is now able to test and detect COVID-19, as well as other epidemic and pandemic prone pathogens in real time In March 2022, WHO supported the NPHRL to build capacity genome sequencing that will help the country detect and monitor the circulation of new variants of COVID-19, influenza viruses, map the genomes of other bacteria and viruses with epidemic and pandemic potential.

“The second visit of our Regional Director to Somalia is an honor for the WHO Country Office in Somalia and for the country. It shows WHO’s commitment to Somalia to respond to emergencies, while restoring resilient health systems capable of coping with the impact of calamities, as well as any future emergencies. WHO will continue to build strong health foundations across the country and strive to build a more just and equitable health system that serves all, not just a few,” said Dr Mamunur Rahman Malik, WHO Representative in Somalia.

For more information, please contact:

Kyle DeFreitas, Manager – External Relations, WHO Somalia

Fouzia Bano, Communications Officer / Acting Chief of Staff, WHO Somalia

Note to editors Please see the link below for more information on the WHO Regional Director’s last mission to Somalia in September 2019 where Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari launched the country’s roadmap to universal health coverage, in collaboration with the Federal Minister of Health and Social Services. and WHO Representative in Somalia.

WHO EMRO | Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean concludes his visit to Somalia | News | media center

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