Report paints a bleak picture of Somalia’s Covid-19 response

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A report by Amnesty International published on 17th August 2021, paints a sorry state of serious longstanding issues facing Somalia’s health system and its address of the Covid-19 crisis in the country.

The report entitled “We Just Watched Covid-19 Patients Die” – Covid-19 Exposed Somalia’s Weak Healthcare System and says that Covid-19 has exposed a range of pre-existing weaknesses in Somalia’s healthcare system.

The report identified areas where there are serious concerns including access to reproductive, maternal and child healthcare.

According to the report by Amnesty that based its study and research in interviewing individual from various sectors including health and humanitarian workers, government officials, finance and debt relief experts, as well as analysis of government budgets and policies and feedback from Somalia’s Ministry of Finance, Child mortality is currently the highest in the world.

In 2017, it says, it had a ratio of one surgeon per 1,000,000 people. Only an estimated 15 percent of people have access to medical care in rural areas, the report reveals .

The Somalia government’s response to the pandemic was wholly inadequate – characterized by a dire lack of ventilators, severe shortages of oxygen and almost non-existent access to ambulance services, all of which are the result of years of neglect and failure to invest in healthcare” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa.

The research finds that access to health facilities for Covid-19 patients has been severely limited with just one hospital in the capital Mogadishu managing all Covid-19-related cases across the south-central region during the first wave of infections

The 27 page report has recommendation for Somalia’s International partners to increase financial and technical assistance to the government of Somalia and support Somalia’s health workers particularly those dealing with the Covid-19 crisis in the country.

The report urges the government of Somalia to develop policies that are geared towards access to health care.

Officially in Somalia there have been 15,294 confirmed Covid-19 cases, and 798 confirmed deaths, but this might not reflect the actual figures are likely to be much higher given the limited testing capacity, and weaknesses in the reporting and registration of deaths.

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