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UN lauds COVID-19 response in Somalia, urges more efforts

Tuesday September 15, 2020

Somalia’s federal and regional authorities, in conjunction with various organizations, have undertaken a wide range of measures to combat COVID-19’s spread. These measures include putting in place water points across Dhobley town, in Somalia’s Jubaland state, for visitors and locals to wash their hands with soap as well as – shown here – screening travelers along the busy transit route connecting Somalia to Kenya in order to detect any carriers of the virus. United Nations photo: UNSOM

MOGADISHU (Xinhua) -- The UN in Somalia on Tuesday lauded health workers who have worked tirelessly to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as Mogadishu reached a six-month milestone since the first case was confirmed.

While the period has seen achievements in containing the pandemic in Somalia, the UN cautioned that the response to COVID-19 was far from over and urged Mogadishu to redouble efforts to contain the virus.

"The efforts that Somali health workers have made to contain the pandemic and help those affected by the virus have literally saved lives. This heroic work is a testament to their commitment and dedication, often under extremely challenging conditions," James Swan, UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Somalia said in a statement.

Swan said the health workers achieved these life-saving outcomes despite a very fragile and weakened health system in Somalia, the result of three decades of conflict, protracted crisis and repeated humanitarian emergencies.

"The results show their fortitude as well as the importance of the Somali authorities and national and international partners working together," he added.

The Horn of Africa nation has so far 3,376 cases of COVID-19, 2,791 recoveries and 98 deaths since the pandemic was first declared in the country on March 16, according to the ministry of health.

The UN, spearheaded by the UN World Health Organization (WHO), said it began ramping up its support even before the first case of the deadly virus was announced.

In February, WHO began working with Somali authorities to prepare for the prevention and early detection of imported cases, and the management of suspected and confirmed cases within communities.

"Over the past six months, this unprecedented event has required an unprecedented response, an integrated, coordinated and timely response," said Adam Abdelmoula, who also serves as UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for the country.

Mamunur Rahman Malik, WHO Representative for Somalia called for more efforts to contain the pandemic.

"However, the job is not done yet; we still need to strengthen the public health system from grassroots levels upwards to build back better in Somalia," said Malik.

"Even though cases in the national count may seem to have dropped, we still have to reach more communities and vulnerable people. I strongly urge Somali communities to do their part and exercise caution to avoid COVID-19 infections," said Malik.


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