Better Lives’ Health Programme Supports Vulnerable Communities in Somaliland

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By Goth Mohamed Goth

Borama, Somaliland,05/03/2024.  Communities in districts within Awdal region are among tens of thousands of families that are directly benefiting from the ongoing ‘Better Lives’ Health programme funded by United Kingdom’s The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).

According to Awdal Regional Health Co-ordinator, Mohamed Abdi Ahmed, the Health programme implementation is going on well and has been meeting its targets and objective since its inception. Among critical services and support it has been offering, are provision of maternity services that includes referral of pregnant women with complication to Borama Hospital as well as supply of essential medicines.

“The Better Lives Health programme has been implemented across Awdal region covering the districts of Borama and Zeila and numerous health facilities like the main regional hospital, health centres and Maternal Child Health(MCH). It services are critical and live-saving for instance it includes referral through ambulance services, of pregnant women with complication to Borama regional hospital where they are given lifesaving services. It has supplied health facilities with the required medicines as well as offering MCH services to visiting mothers and children” he explained.

The Better Lives for Women and Children continue to attend to the health and nutrition needs of the communities and comes with essential package of health services e.g Maternity care, children health that includes the critical neonatal care and nutrition.

At Borama Central MCH that is being supported by the programme, tens of mothers and children were being attended by health care professional and they include Ikran Roble a pregnant mother who received important pregnancy tests and counselling.

“I’m four months pregnant with my second child and I visited this health facility where I was given free pregnancy tests like Ultrasound and counselling of which food to eat and how to care of myself during the pregnancy and the unborn baby’ she indicated.

In Somaliland its currently being implemented in Awdal and Toghdeer regions. With the support from FCDO, UNICEF has been providing technical support, guidance and monitoring to implementing partners that are the Somaliland Ministry of Health Development and development agencies, Save the Children and Mercy USA as well.

According to Jamal Abdi Sarman, UNICEF Communications Officer, the programme will in addition support the Ministry service delivery and oversight role.

“In the long run this programme will also further strengthen the Somaliland Health Authorities oversight and service delivery roles. Its approach aims to support long term sustainability of these critical services.” He stated.

With support from its donors like FCDO, UNICEF through its network of partnership support primary healthcare, particularly at the community level, to help achieve the universal health coverage. It also works with partners to strengthen health systems to deliver integrated and innovative services for Somali children, youths and women of reproductive age.