Thursday March 16, 2023
Mogadishu (HOL) - KSrelief and WHO have announced a partnership to address one of the leading causes of death in Somalia - pneumonia in children under the age of 5. The announcement was made during the 3rd Riyadh International Humanitarian Forum, where Eng. Ahmed Albaiz and Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari signed a project contribution agreement.
Somalia is facing one of its worst droughts in recent history, impacting 7.8 million people. 1.1 million people have been displaced in search of food, water, and healthcare. Child mortality rates, especially infant and under-5 death rates are among the highest in the world. Approximately 21% of under-5 deaths are due to pneumonia, and 18-20% are due to diarrheal disease. Any child born in Somalia today is 16.5 times more likely to die before the age of five than a child from any other country.
The project is called "Every breath counts: Reducing childhood pneumonia by increasing access to medical oxygen in the fragile humanitarian setting of Somalia." Its goal is to reduce the high rates of childhood pneumonia- and diarrhea-related deaths in Somalia. KSrelief has provided resources to WHO to undertake cost-effective and evidence-informed life-saving interventions in target districts. These interventions focus on strengthening community-based preventive care, promotive and curative care for treating sick children with signs of childhood pneumonia and diarrheal disease.
The project will also equip primary health care, maternity and child health centers, and district hospitals with solar-powered oxygen delivery systems to improve access to medical oxygen for children, pregnant women, and other vulnerable populations seeking health care in these public health facilities.
WHO anticipates that the project will reduce morbidity and mortality among children under five due to pneumonia by 10% in the target districts. An estimated 230,000 children under five and over 3.3 million people will benefit from this project's integrated health care and other priority interventions. The project's goal and objectives remain aligned with the Government's overarching vision of achieving universal health coverage (UHC) through the implementation of its Essential Package of Health Services 2020, which focuses on leveraging community and primary levels of care to achieve Health for All by All.
Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari expressed his gratitude to KSrelief for its life-saving support to Somalia. He noted that community-based outreach programs could significantly assist in identifying and referring children suffering from any illness to a health facility, including for suspected pneumonia or severe diarrhea. He emphasized the importance of integrating such community interventions into primary-level care, especially when facilities also have access to medical oxygen and deliver integrated health care.