Friday July 23, 2021
Photo: Warsame Gure/World Bank
Mogadishu (HOL) - The World Bank has approved $100 million to improve essential health and nutrition services in Somalia's most disadvantaged areas.
The project, known as "Damal Caafimaad," and will be financed by a $75 million International Development Assistance (IDA) grant and an additional US$25 million grant from the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents (GFF). It would be the World Bank health project in 30 years.
Some of the areas targeted by the project are Nugaal (Puntland), Bakool and Bay (South West), Hiraan, and Middle Shebelle (Hirshabelle). Nomadic families and internally displaced persons (IDPs) will also benefit from the program.
Kristina Svensson, the World Bank Country Manager for Somalia, said that this project is a collaborative project.
"We are using the best of our resources by combining IDA and trust fund investments to help Somalia strengthen its essential healthcare services and working with government leaders in the health sector to meet its Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 3 and 5) commitments. The project will help catalyze Somalia's resilient growth by improving health and productivity during and after the COVID-19 pandemic."
Nearly three decades of civil war and strife have decimated Somalia's healthcare sector. The average life expectancy is 56 years and the fertility rate, at 6.9 children per woman, is among the highest in the world. The ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed Somalia's weak health system, underlining the need for increased investment in the health sector.
"The Somali people have long suffered from recurrent humanitarian and health emergencies. There are substantial challenges in the health sector, and the country needs to lay the foundation for a resilient health system to improve health outcomes and respond to external health challenges," said World Bank Task Team Leader, Naoko Ohno. "The Damal Caafimaad Project will help the Government build its leadership and stewardship capacity in the sector while responding to immediate service gaps by rapidly increasing essential service coverage through working with partners."
In the last month, Somalia has signed major developmental projects for the education and health sector.
Somalia announced on June 30 that it had penned a deal with the World Bank worth $445 million in grants for development projects and economic reforms. Among the projects was an IDA-funded initiative that would invest $40 million to provide top-tier education to disadvantaged communities, with a specific focus on young girls.
The World Bank's International Development Association was established in 1960 and is designed to help the world's poorest countries establish themselves by providing grants and zero-interest loans for development projects and programs.