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Strengthening Somalia’s health systems: emerging stronger from Covid-19

Briefing/policy papers

Written by Sarah Redd

Hero image description: Checking temperatures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 at Luuq hospital in the Gedo region of Somalia Image credit:Trócaire

Somalia is among the countries least able to cope with Covid-19 due to poverty-related deprivation, longstanding conflict, low levels of access to healthcare and limited state capacity. As plans are being developed to strengthen Somalia's health system in the long term, HPG, along with the Federal Government of Somalia's Office of the Prime Minister, convened a roundtable to discuss how Somalia can do this sustainably.

Key recommendations from the roundtable

  • Develop a unified vision for health service delivery in Somalia, in alignment with government policies, plans and programmes. All agencies should invest their support into the unified health sector support programme.
  • Existing coordination mechanisms should be reinvigorated over the next 12 months to deliver on a unified plan for strengthening health systems.
  • Donors and governments need to transition from humanitarian to medium- and long-term funding models for the health sector.
  • The Federal Government of Somalia and the Federal Member States should increase the health budget to reinforce the government's commitment to deliver key services, including health.
  • The international community should provide long-term investment in building government capacity, including the capacity to manage health procurement using the government’s procurement regulations and procedures to the extent possible.
  • The Ministry of Health should continue to explore new models of delivery, including private sector engagement, to complement existing structures incorporating the crucial work of NGOs that link policy conversations with grassroots networks.
  • Donors must identify barriers currently preventing them from using country systems and support necessary developments to steadily increase use of these systems.

Gregory J. Wilson and Sarah Redd