Somalia, UN call for more efforts to ensure safety of mothers, newborns


MOGADISHU (SMN) — Somalia and UN agencies on Friday urged health facilities, healthcare workers, and other stakeholders to redouble efforts to ensure mothers and newborns remain safe in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said all stakeholders should “act now for safe and respectful childbirth.”

Mamunur Malik, WHO Representative to Somalia said partners should continue developing the capacity of healthcare workers at the points of care while maintaining the highest standards of hygiene and safety to prevent any potential spread of diseases and to ensure patients recover.

“We need to encourage family members, including men, to bring pregnant mothers to their nearest health centers for regular antenatal care and delivery, to prevent women and children from dying of preventable causes and unsafe care. With concerted efforts, we can save more lives, but we all need to act now to make a change,” Malik said in a joint statement issued to mark the World Patient Safety Day.

The UN agencies said this year’s theme, ‘Safe maternal and newborn care’ comes at a time when COVID-19 has disrupted the continuity of already overstretched essential health services across the country.

According to the UN, even before the COVID-19 outbreak was confirmed in Somalia, the country was known to have one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, at 692 maternal deaths per 100,000, and a neonatal mortality rate of 40 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Fawziya Abikar Nur, Minister of Health and Human Services said before the COVID-19 pandemic, 68 percent of women did not visit health facilities for antenatal care and only one-third of births were delivered with the help of a qualified health care practitioner.

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed in Somalia, women have been making even fewer visits to seek help. I would like to encourage all our partners to reconsider their strategies to ensure more pregnant women access health facilities for antenatal care, deliveries, and immunization, to offer young children a safe start to their lives,” she said.

Mohamed Ayoya, UNICEF Somalia Representative said having a well-trained doctor, nurse or midwife present during pregnancy, birth and beyond, is key in giving every Somali child a chance to survive and thrive from the very beginning.

UNFPA representative Andersswoma Thomsen said every mother has a right to a safe delivery through skilled birth attendance.

“This is a service that can be scaled up to reach the underserved and underprivileged population across the country. This can be achieved through the ongoing engagement of the public sector and the services provided by the non-government sector,” said Thomsen.

Introduced in 2019, World Patient Safety Day aims to promote understanding of patient safety, increase public engagement in health care safety, and promote global action to prevent and reduce avoidable harm in health care.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here