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Somalia, 11 February 2016: Free mother and child health services launched with UNICEF’s support in Jubaland

© UNICEF Somalia/2016
The UNICEF and WHO representatives with the President of Jubaland, Ahmed Mohamed Islan , the Federal Health Minister and Jubaland Minister of Gender Family Affairs and Human rights, JSS.

KISMAYO, Somalia, 11 February 2016 – The Somali authorities with support from UNICEF have launched the Essential Package of Health Services providing free maternal and child health and nutrition services for over a quarter of a million people.

The launch, in Kismayo on 2 February, was attended by the Vice President of Jubaland Abdulkadir Lugadhere, the Federal Government’s Minister of Health and Human Services Hawa Hassan, the Jubaland Health Minister, the UNICEF Representative Steven Lauwerier, the WHO Representative Ghulam Popal, and representatives from UNFPA and EPHS implementing partners IOM, Save the Children and Somali Aid.

At the ceremony, speakers from the Federal and Jubaland authorities emphasized their appreciation for the EPHS. The phased scale-up of EPHS starting with roll-out of services in the districts of Kismayo, Afmadow and Badhade is expected to reach a population of close to 260,000 people with essential maternal and child health and nutrition services. It will also build the capacity of the Jubaland Ministry of Health to provide oversight and monitoring of the implementing partners providing EPHS.

The UNICEF Representative emphasized the importance of ensuring that every Somali child gets the opportunity to benefit from the EPHS in Lower Juba.

“Caregivers of children need to be made fully aware of the services that are being introduced so that they can get their children immunized on time and seek care for their sick children and themselves,” said Mr Lauwerier. “Community and religious leaders have an important role in shaping public opinion and social norms around care seeking including vaccinations, safe delivery for pregnant women and the media needs to highlight the enormous benefits of seeking timely care at these facilities where EPHS is provided free of charge.”

The UNICEF-supported package has been adopted as the flagship health programme by Somali Health Authorities and is the prime mechanism to strengthen child health and safe motherhood services. These include child immunization, maternal, reproductive, and neonatal health, malaria, first-aid and care of critically ill and injured, treatment of common illnesses and HIV, through support to an increasing number of facilities and communities. UNICEF has ensured access to EPHS services to more than 5.56 million Somali people in nine targeted regions.

UNICEF has been a consistent partner of the authorities in Jubaland and since 2011 has mobilised nearly 70 million USD to cover basic social needs. Currently UNICEF supports 30 projects with 18 different partners.

 

 
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