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Muslim Aid Media Centre


Muslim Aid Media Centre

Somalia: Creating Safe Operating Theatres for New Born Babies


Country: Background

Somalia is one of the worst places for a child to be born in, with one of the highest child mortality rates in the world. Recent estimates from UN show that almost one in seven children die before reaching the age of five (UNICEF). It is estimated that 27 per 1,000 new born infants die within the first month of life (World Health Organisation). Most of these deaths are caused by common preventable diseases (pneumonia (24 per cent), diarrhoea (19 per cent), and measles (12 per cent), as well as neonatal disorders (17 per cent). This is because people do not have access to even the most basic health services in most parts of the country. 

Maternal mortality rates in Somalia are also amongst the highest in the world (ReliefWeb, 2018).The recent estimates from the UN shows that women run a 1 in 22 lifetime risk of dying while giving birth (UNFPA, 2018). In addition, one out of every 12 women die due to pregnancy related causes (UNICEF). Access to maternal health services is low with 44 and 38 per cent of births in Somaliland and Puntland being attended by skilled birth attendants (UNICEF).

Cause: 

There are many barriers that people face to access reproductive health care, such as low awareness of beneficial effects of preventive services, focused antenatal care and HIV prevention. There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding the use of most reproductive health services and products within the communities, with generally poor basic education and lack of sexual health education in schools. There is the existence of early age marriage where many parents force and or encourage their daughter to marry at very early age of 15 years old (UNICEF, 2017). The level of information on risks related to pregnancy and child birth is very low among societies especially those who live in remote areas and who derive their view from traditional beliefs.

Muslim Aid response: 

The main aim of the project reduced the number of unsafe births for mother and child in 10 remote districts in Puntland, by training 2 doctors on comprehensive emergency new born and obstetric care and 20 health workers. This helped advance their knowledge as well as clinical case management skills around safe motherhood, in particular pertaining to managing complications that will require C-section. As a result this reduced the suffering and risks involved for the mothers during labour and contributed to the reduction of maternal mortality and morbidity. 

How: 

  • Identify, equip and operationalise C-section clinics for maternal health 
  • Increase trained midwives and anaesthetists through the provision of skill training 
  • Conduct training for the lab technicians on blood transfusion procedures 
  • Support the maintenance and capacity of health facilities 

Total Beneficiaries: 20,000

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