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Sweden donates $9m to improve healthcare service in Somalia
Africa

Sweden donates $9m to improve healthcare service in Somalia

The Government of Sweden, through its partnership with UNICEF, has donated SEK75 million (USD9 million) to strengthen health and protection services for Somali women and children. The funding will also support the COVID-19 vaccination campaign which is currently underway and is one of the largest immunization drives the country has undertaken. “Children deserve to have a healthy start in life and to grow up in a safe environment where their protection rights are upheld,” said Ambassador Staffan Tillander, the Swedish Ambassador to Somalia. “This funding will strengthen access to essential health and protection services and underscores Sweden’s long-term commitment to improving the lives of Somali women and children.” The contribution also comes at a critical time as Somalia is currently experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases and the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccination has been hampered by a lack of funding. To date, Somalia received 300,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccination from the COVAX facility and only 40% of the doses have been administered. “It is critical that we scale up the COVID-19 vaccination campaign to reach the most vulnerable populations and frontline workers in Somalia. The fight against COVID-19 is a global one and part of this funding will help support UNICEF and WHO to speed up the vaccination effort so that the second wave of COVID-19 is contained,” added the Ambassador. With the dedicated funds to scale up the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, UNICEF and WHO will be able to improve cold chain capacity, support the government in training health workers on how to administer the vaccine safely, monitoring vaccine utilization and accountability through stock management and reporting. The contribution will also enable UNICEF and partners to continue to train and deploy social mobilizers to educate communities on the value and effectiveness of the vaccine and to reinforce the importance of continuing COVID-19 prevention measures. Outside of bolstering the Government’s ongoing response to COVID-19, the contribution will improve access to maternal, newborn and child health services reaching over 1 million women and children. In addition, funding will crucially strengthen national and sub-national capacities to plan, deliver, monitor, and report on quality health services and supplies. The assistance will also enable UNICEF to support the strengthening of child rights and expand critical child protection services throughout the country including a pioneering safe schools programme to eliminate discrimination against girls and prevent harmful practices such as FGM and child marriage. It will also support innovative mental health initiatives for children affected by armed conflict, including former child soldiers, children maimed in conflict and survivors of rape and sexual violence. “UNICEF is extremely grateful to the Government of Sweden for this generous contribution,” said Jesper Moller, UNICEF Acting Representative in Somalia. “Every child has a right to health and protection. This multi-year funding provides us with the much-needed opportunity to work harder on long-term solutions and do more to keep Somali children and their families healthy and safe especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.”