UNICEF in Action
UNICEF works with local health authorities and partners across Somalia to strengthen childcare services, safe motherhood, child immunization, enhancing the access to, utilization and quality of essential health services through support to an increasing number of facilities and communities offering a minimum package of care. Providing basic health care services is complemented by supporting the development of institutional capacities, including training health care personnel, supporting policy development and continued health sector reform.
Maternal, New-born and Child Health
UNICEF works to improve access, availability and quality of maternal, neonatal and child health services; strengthening awareness of the positive health benefits of certain traditional practices; and creating awareness among the population of the harmful effects of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C). UNICEF supports almost 90% of primary health care services in Somalia by provision of incentives, essential basic drugs, equipment, bundled vaccines, cold chain equipment and management tools through 325 Mother and Child Health clinics and 500 Health Posts.
Reaching out to the poorest and the most disinherited
As most child deaths occur at home, before reaching health facilities, UNICEF has also initiated a community based initiative through integrated community case management (ICCM) for reduction of common neonatal and childhood illnesses such as diarrhea, pneumonia, malaria, and complications arising from acute malnutrition at a household level. This community-based strategy uses trained, supervised village health workers living in areas without access to medical facilities to deliver life-saving health services to the children.
Building the resilience of health systems and communities
The community-based outreach is building up the capacity of health authorities, service providers and community leaders to mitigate the effects of any crisis and manage health risks.
Child Health Days (CHDs)
The programme aims to promote a life-saving health package, including immunization against measles, polio, diphtheria, whooping cough, and tetanus, as well as vitamin A supplements, deworming tablets, nutritional screening, and the distribution of oral rehydration salts and water purification tablets – complement routine immunization, and have resulted in increased coverage rates for standard vaccines among children below the age of one and increased coverage of measles and polio immunization for children under five.
Essential Package of Health Services (EPHS)
The UNICEF-supported package has been officially recognized by all the health authorities as the prime mechanism for strategic service delivery of public health The EPHS includes six core programmes of maternal, reproductive, and neonatal health, child health, communicable disease, surveillance and control, including water and sanitation promotion, first-aid and care of critically ill and injured, treatment of common illnesses and HIV, sexually transmitted infections, and tuberculosis.
Strengthening Governance and Leadership of Local Health Authorities
UNICEF, together with partners and other UN agencies is working to strengthen the capacity of existing health authorities to respond to the health needs of the population. UNICEF works closely with health authorities at all levels to improve access to, demand for, and quality of health services as well as providing guidance for health programmes development and implementation in accordance with international standards.
UNICEF and its partners supported the development of the National Malaria Strategy 2011–2015. The support also includes procurement and mass distribution of long-lasting insecticide-treated nets, rounds of indoor residual spraying, rapid diagnostic tests, training of health personnel, and the education and communications required to reduce the prevalence of malaria.
Information Management System
UNICEF continues to support health authorities in the Somaliland and Puntland and NGOs in South Central with a nationwide Health Management Information System, designed to improve their capacity to manage and use data for decision-making and reporting, a major gap in the current health system.