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100 Million USD for Healthcare in Somalian During Crisis
Featured, Health Policy, News

100 Million USD for Healthcare in Somalian During Crisis

Somalia is Africa’s westernmost country, located on the Horn of Africa. 

It stretches from just south of the Equator to the Gulf of Aden, occupying a strategic geopolitical location between Sub-Saharan Africa and Arabian and southern Asian nations. 

Mogadishu, the capital, sits on the Indian Ocean, just north of the Equator. 

Somali citizens have been subjected to significant abuse as a result of on-going armed conflict, instability, a lack of official protection, and repeated humanitarian crises. 

There are an estimated 2.6 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country; many of them are living in poverty and at risk of abuse.

Government and Allied Forces Abuse

Somali government troops used fatal force in response to a small number of mostly peaceful protests. 

Following a government decision to postpone examinations, students peacefully demonstrated in Beledweyne in May, and at least one kid was murdered by security forces.

Ethiopian police detained Mukhtar Robow, a former Al-Shabaab commander who campaigned for the regional presidency, in December 2018, prompting demonstrations before regional presidential elections in Baidoa. 

Between December 13 and 15, security forces, particularly police, used fatal force, killing at least 15 protestors and wounding many more, according to the UN.

During the 2016 election, dozens of government and security personnel, as well as former electoral delegates and clan leaders, were killed; Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for several of the deaths.

Military tribunals continue to try individuals in a wide range of situations, including terrorism-related charges, in ways that are unconstitutional. 

According to media sources and the UN, the government carried out at least 16 executions between December 31, 2018 and early November 2019, all for suspected terrorism-related charges.

The World Bank Intervenes

The World Bank announced that it had approved a total of $100 million to help Somalia improve its healthcare services.

A 75-million-dollar grant from the International Development Assistance (IDA) and a 25-million-dollar grant from the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children, and Adolescents are funding the programme, which aims to improve healthcare services (GFF).

“The programme will support Somalia’s resilient growth by increasing health and productivity during and after the COVID-19 outbreak.”

Kristina Svensson – World Bank Country Head for Somalia

The initiative, according to the World Bank, would provide vital health and nutrition services as well as enhance health care coverage and quality in some of Somalia’s poorest districts, including Nugaal (Puntland), Bakool and Bay (South West), Hiiraan, and Middle Shabelle (Hirshabelle).

We are supporting Somalia in enhancing its critical healthcare services and working with government leadership in the health sector to achieve its Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 and 5 objectives by combining IDA and trust fund investments.

Kristina Svensson – World Bank Country Head for Somalia

Abuse by Al-Shabaab

Al-Shabaab killed those it suspected of working for the government or spying for foreign forces following bogus trials, with media reporting an increase in executions in the middle of the year; and extorted “taxes” through threats.

Al-Shabaab used improvised explosive devices (IEDs), suicide bombs, shelling, and assassinations against people and civilian infrastructure, notably in Mogadishu and Lower Shabelle, resulting in approximately 750 civilian deaths and injuries, according to the UN.

Somaliland

Somaliland, officially the Republic of Somaliland, is an unrecognised sovereign state in the Horn of Africa, internationally considered to be part of Somalia.

On subjects deemed contentious or too critical of the authorities, the Somaliland government severely limited news and free expression.

A considerable number of journalists were arbitrarily detained and told to monitor, and media outlets were temporarily shut down. 

After reporting on the construction of a new presidential palace in Hargeisa, the newspaper was accused of disseminating false information.

The government has also arbitrarily detained those who are believed to be government opponents. 

After highlighting several due process violations in Somaliland, poet Abdirahman Ibrahim Adan arbitrarily detained and charged with “insulting the police.”

Key International Factors

International assistance centred on strengthening Somalia’s security sector and mending relations between federal and state authorities, particularly the election impasse.

The European Parliament demanded in September that the European Union Training Mission in Somalia (EUTM) provide greater human rights monitoring and follow-up of the Somali government troops it trains. 

The European Union expressed grave concerns about human rights breaches before the United Nations Human Rights Council. 

In the first five months of the year, US military attacks rose.

After clearing its arrears with foreign assistance, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank deemed Somalia eligible for debt reduction under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative in March. 

Intra-Somalia tensions were exacerbated by competition among Gulf nations for political and economic supremacy in Somalia.

Bad Treatment of Children

Child abuse was committed by all Somali parties to the conflict, including murders, maiming, and the recruitment and employment of child soldiers.

In 2018, the United Nations reported more incidents of minors being recruited and deployed as soldiers in Somalia than anywhere else on the planet. 

In 2019, Al-Shabab resumed its aggressive child recruiting drive, threatening villages that refused to hand up their youngsters.

Somali federal and regional authorities have unjustly imprisoned children for suspected links to Al-Shabab and have tried minors for terrorism-related charges in military courts.

Final Notes

The health sector faces significant difficulties, and the government must create the groundwork for a robust health system that can enhance health outcomes and adapt to external health threats.

Kristina Svensson – World Bank Country Head for Somalia

Somalia’s poor health outcomes, according to the World Bank, reflect the country’s insecurity, fragility, and poverty, restricting people’s access to essential social services such as health and education. 

The average life expectancy is 56 years, while the fertility rate is among the highest in the world, with 6.9 children per woman.

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