More than two million people in Puntland, northeastern Somalia, are due to benefit from improved health services with generous support from the development cooperation of the German government through KfW Development Bank.
The joint project began in January 2017 and runs to the end of 2019. It focuses on the regions of Nugal and Mudug which are home to more than 250,000 women of child bearing age and also to 200,000 children under the age of five.
The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), has contributed 23,550,000 Euro (around US$25.85 million) to help the Government of Puntland, UNICEF and partners continue the work started under the Joint Health and Nutrition Programme, which ended in 2016.
"The health of the people in Puntland, particularly women and children, is a major concern despite some improvements in services in recent years," said Markus Bollmohr, Deputy Ambassador to Somalia on behalf of the German Cooperation. "We are confident that, through the collaboration between KfW, UNICEF and the Puntland authorities, we can make a real difference in providing services that will save the lives of many."
The project is in two parts. One will support the continued delivery of the UNICEF-supported Essential Provision of Health Service (EPHS) package which is the prime mechanism to strengthen child health and safe motherhood services.
These services include child immunization; nutrition; maternal, reproductive, and neonatal health; malaria; first-aid and care of critically ill and injured; treatment of common illnesses and HIV.
The second part provides support to an increasing number of facilities and communities. It will involve developing critical health infrastructure to expand specialised and emergency referral services with a feasibility study already underway.
The construction and rehabilitation projects are expected to include five district hospitals, one emergency ward, 20 health centres and two regional health management offices,
The services are being delivered through 43 health centres (21 in Mudug and 22 in Nugal) run by implementing partners under the Puntland Health Ministry.
So far this year over 149,000 children under five and over 207,000 older patients were treated in supported facilities while 37,000 pregnant women benefited from antenatal care and there were over 11,000 assisted deliveries
. Coverage of the Pentavalent and measles vaccinations was also up on last year.
"We are very grateful to the German Government and KfW for its support - Puntland desperately needs improved health services - not just now when there is a drought but for the years to come to ensure the next generation grows up healthy and strong," said UNICEF Representative, Steven Lauwerier