THT-The government of Somaliland is to take a coordinated strategy towards guarding the country from the Corona Virus Infection.
This was stated through a presidential decree that established an inter-ministerial national committee tasked with not only guarding but preventing the spread of the Covid 19 infection in Somaliland.
In his decree President Muse Bihi Abdi said that though the administration has in the past set up some preventive mechanisms like medical surveillance at airports, seaports and border crossing points managed by the ministry of health, the national Prophylactic committee which is an inter-ministerial one, has been prompted by the spread intensification of the Corona Virus currently reported in 123 worldwide among them 18 countries on the African continent, after Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan and Guinea all confirming their first cases on Friday.
The presidential decree # JSL / XM / G / 083-488 / 032020 establishing the national Corona Virus Prophylactic Committee, addressed to the
- Minister of health
- Minister of interior
- Minister of information, Culture & national Guidance
- Minister of Religious Affairs and
- Minister Education and Science
Quote- As you know, we had in the past taken national steps to prevent the outbreak of then Coronavirus (Covid-19) epidemic with preventive steps taken being stringent investigations and inspections at all airports, ports and ports of entry undertaken by staff of the ministry of health.
However, with the virus now termed pandemic following its spread worldwide more and coordinated effort is required as pertains prevention and preparation for any eventualities.
Therefore, I hereby appointed you members of the National Coronavirus (Covid-19) Prophylactic Committees tasked with Coordinating all national activities related to Prevention of virus prevalence, its Spread, Containment, and subsequent management .
This inter-ministerial Committee shall be chaired by Minister of Health.
I hope you will take this Corona virus preparation and prevention duties seriously thence act diligently towards saving our citizens from infection. –Unquote
Though the virus is prevalent in 18 African countries this national committee comes a day after two neighbouring countries reported first confirmed Covid-19 cases namely Kenya and Ethiopia.
The Corona virus confirmation in Addis Ababa prompted the Government of Somaliland to suspend issuance of entry visas to Ethiopian citizens traveling to Somaliland as confirmed by deputy envoy to the neighbouring country Ambassador Barkhad Mohamed Kaariye.
Movement of goods and people between Somaliland and Ethiopia is wide spread both regulated and unregulated thence the urgings by the Addis Ababa based envoy for Somalilanders living in Ethiopia to strictly observe preventive measures set out by the World health organization.
On Friday after confirmation of its first Covid 19 case the Kenyan government banned all public gathering and functions as it traces all persons who came into contact with the infected lady said to have returned home from the US via London.
In the meantime The World Health Organization (WHO) is scaling up preparedness efforts for the coronavirus disease, now known as COVID-19, in the African region and supporting countries there to implement the recommendations of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee, which met in Geneva, Switzerland on 30 January. On the advice of the Emergency Committee, the WHO Director-General, declared the COVID-19 outbreak a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).
More recently, the WHO Regional Office for Africa was represented at an emergency meeting of the Minsters of Health in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on 14 February. Ministers resolved to strengthen coordination and cooperation among Member States, enhance surveillance measures at points of entry, increase public awareness efforts, and to develop a regional preparedness plan.
The WHO which appealed on Friday for contributions to its vulnerable countries support fund is not alone since the international monetary fund –IMF has committed to supporting member countries especially the most vulnerable with tools and funds as well as through close coordination with partner institutions.
According to IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva “The IMF could quickly disburse $50 billion through its emergency financing facilities to low income and emerging market countries dealing with COVID-19.”
Iran which has confirmed 12,729 Covid -19 cases and 611 deaths and counting has appealed for financial support from these institutions but sanction ions imposed by the US administration of president Trump are said to be an impediment.
For Somaliland which is yet to recognized internationally as a sovereign country over 3 decades since withdrawing from its 1960 voluntary later turned fateful union with Somalia, access to these funds will be a monumental task , if Iran is an example of global politics.
As coronavirus spreads across the globe, countries in Africa are taking preventive measures to keep the disease out and many are showing a strong level of preparedness to counter its spread, and Somaliland is not left behind despite its meager resources thence the national Covid_19 Prophylactic Committee is timely.
By: Yusuf M Hasan.