By: Yusuf M Hasan
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – The government of Somaliland has thanked MSF Holland for support in uplifting the standards of Erigavo regional hospital.
The acknowledgments to MSF Holland were expressed by the deputy Health minister Hon Nimo Hussein Qawdan during an interview with Somalilandsun at her offices in Hargeisa where she also revealed that the two years MSF contracts ends this June.
“We thank MSF Holland because its intervention at the Sanaag regional hospital in Erigavo has seen the institution acquire a new face as pertains to infrastructure, equipment’s and service provision” Said Ms Qawdan
The deputy health minister informed that though the two years contract ends this June, the government of Somaliland through the ministry of health is determined to not only the superb standards established by the doctors without borders but enhance them as well.
She stressed on the fact that the MSF intervention has managed to eliminate unnecessary deaths, especially among pregnant women, that used to occur in the road between Erigavo and Burao for patients seeking medical attention, Said she, “The formerly unnecessary deaths have been negated by the availability of skilled personnel, equipment’s and infrastructure courtesy of MSF Holland”
The deputy minister said that with the imminent departure of MSF Holland, the Togdheer regional hospital at Burao remains the only one support full time by an international partner. She informed that MSF Belgium is currently managing all aspects at the regional hospital in cooperation with the health ministry.
Hon Nimo Hussein Qawdan also revealed that since the administration of the Kulmiye party and the president H.E Ahmed Mahmoud Silanyo took over, various developments have been initiated within the country’s health sector, Said She said, “women have benefited a lot from these developments that have mostly targeted mother and child”
According to the deputy health minister who with Education minister Hon Zamzam Abdi Aden are the only the only women in the Silanyo cabinet, innovative strategies have seen her ministry attain a hawk eyed oversight of emergencies in the entire country.
Hon Nimo Qawdan said that one of the most of their strategy that has ensued with hawk eye health surveillance is the “Good Morning Program” which is a tactic that sees all hospitals nationwide both public and private submit activity reports for every 24 hours, Said she, “The hospital report on patients treated mostly as a result of traffic accidents, knife/clubs/bullet injuries, Measles, diarrhea, general & eye surgeries, caesarean section etc.”
The deputy minister attributed major health success to the good morning program that was initiated by her ministry immediately the president Silanyo assumed office in mid-2010. She added that while the program keeps the health ministry headquarters in daily contact with hospitals it also facilitates swift and coordinated emergency response whenever an outbreak is report.
In respect to the enhanced mother and child activities, Hon Nimo Qawdan said that the government has established MCH’s in all villages of the country with others elevated to district health centres, “All these facilities are manned by qualified health personnel who are mostly products of local institutions”
While stressing on the governments fixation with primary health care Hon Nimo Qawdan informed that owing to the high rate of deaths within delivering mothers that are said to be around 10%, one of the highest in the world, the ministry of health in conjunction with a number of international partners are in advanced stages of introducing an Essential Package Health Service-EPHS program.
She added that the EPHS program that has been very successful in various countries especially Pakistan will be launched as soon as draft operational guidelines are completed. The deputy health minister revealed that the EPHS will entail her ministry establishing mechanisms that avail health surveillance on each 200 households in the country.
“The EPHS will be centred on a trained community worker dubbed HEALTH LADY, responsible for 200 households”
Hon Nimo Qawdan said that the HEALTH LADY will be responsible for recording all expectant mothers within her 200 households as well as children less than 5 years of age. This will enable the Health lady who is supposed to visit each of her 200 households twice a month, record pregnancy progress thus safe delivery in addition to ensuring that all children under five years of age are immunized regular or as per the dictates of the health ministry.
At the same time, the deputy health minister urged parents to stop the practice of Female Genital Mutilation which she termed as abhorrent and inhuman. Hon Nimo Qawdan added that the pretex that that FGM is a religious obligation has been proved as false thus the urgent and imperative need to put a stop to it.
According to the deputy health minister, women can only take their proper place in the decision making process once the abhorrent and destructive practice of FGM is stopped completely. The deputy health who together with Education minister Hon Zamzam Abdi Aden are the only women in the cabinet of ministers.
Hon Nimo revealed that the administration of H.E Ahmed Mahmoud Silanyo-President of Somaliland plans to support various anti-FGM awareness raising campaigns nationwide especially in rural areas where the practice is still rampant, Said she, “We ask all FGM stakeholders to work in concert thus raise awareness on the ills of FGM and more specifically, FGM’s non relation to the Islamic religion”
In conclusion the deputy health minister Hon Nimo Hussein Qawdan thanked all local and international health stakeholders who have helped the government avail citizen’s apt medical services. She urged Somalilanders in the diaspora to chip in thus strengthen the already available health services which the government has attained while encumbered by insufficient funds.