Saturday January 9, 2021
Mogadishu – Several hospitals and health clinics in Somalia are being equipped to strengthen their capacity to provide healthcare services, thanks to an innovative telemedicine project by the Ministry of Health and Human Services (MoH) supported by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
IOM, through funding from the multi-donor Somalia Humanitarian Fund (SHF), handed over digital devices and office equipment to the MoH in Somalia on Thursday (January 7) to support the introduction of telemedicine in Somalia’s health system. The donation includes screens, video cameras, a PC, video conference equipment and 50 iPads. Somalia’s health system has been significantly damaged by years of conflict and recurrent humanitarian crisis, and most of the health care workers working on the frontlines against COVID-19 and other disease of epidemic potential have limited expertise and experience of treating critically ill patients.
The new telemedicine project aims to setup the necessary facilities to enable these local medical professionals to access a growing body of health knowledge and expertise inside and outside the country. Knowledge-transfer resulting from this project will pave the way to revolutionizing the Somalia healthcare system through a systematic knowledge-transfer to improve healthcare service provision in the country.
IOM has been supporting health capacity injection through IOM’s Migration for Development in Africa (MIDA) programme, by placing diaspora health experts in hospitals and clinics throughout Somalia. Due to the current COVID-19 situation, it has been increasingly difficult to recruit senior health care workers to respond to the urgent demand of expertise to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This project will link doctors in Somalia with experts abroad and in other parts of the country to complement the diaspora programme which physically places diaspora doctors in the country,” explained Kerry Kyaa, IOM’s Senior Health expert.
“Telemedicine will also mitigate the limitations placed by COVID-19 on international travel and physical distancing.”
Expert doctors will help those on the frontlines with clinical diagnosis and will give real time recommendations for patient management and reduce morbidity and mortality. This will be achieved through the setup of collaboration systems to facilitate videoconferencing and teleconsultations
During the handover ceremony, Somalia’s Minister of Health and Human Services, HE. Dr. Fawziya Abikar Nur, said
“I would like to thank IOM on behalf of the Ministry of Health and the people in Somalia. IOM has done a great job with the ministry of health before during, and after COVID-19. This telemedicine project is very crucial for the health sector and the people in Somalia will benefit immensely from it.”
“IOM is proud to be supporting Somalia with this new ambitious telemedicine programme and shall continue to work with MoH and partners to ensure that migrants and displaced populations can have access to a free and better health care,” said Richard Danziger, IOM Somalia Chief of Mission.