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Maternal and Child Health in Somalia

Maternal and Child Health

Maternal and Child Health in Somalia

Somali authorities have made efforts to improve maternal and child health but the existing challenges of food insecurity, lack of safe drinking water or sanitation facilities and poor healthcare services has worsened the situation of malnutrition, child and maternal mortality.

Maternal and Child Health

Maternal health is most vulnerable in Somalia due to unavailability of timely treatment. Traditional influences towards sexual and reproductive health measures and minimum knowledge of modern medical care is responsible for poor quality and under financed health system, short supply of health centers and insufficient qualified staff in Somalia. The main contributors to maternal morbidity and mortality are childbirth or pregnancy related complications such as obstructed labour, haemorrhage, eclampsia, high blood pressure, unsafe abortion and infections caused by lack of access to emergency obstetric care. Chronic malnutrition and limited access to prenatal care as well as unavailability of qualified healthcare personnel has affected maternal and child health.

Healthcare Services in Somalia

The access and use of universally available quality health services related to sexual and reproductive health for the reduction of maternal mortality is critical.A healthier and empowered society for women is possible by increasing wide range of employment opportunities and access to informative resource of education. To improve female health outcomes in Somalia, utilization of obstetric care services and development of reproductive health interventions is necessary. It will be important to evaluate morbidity and mortality ratios to enhance further investments in implementation of interventions addressing maternal and child health in Somalia.
The health ministry in Somalia encourages better planning and management in the health sector to meet the existing needs of mother and child. The goal of maternal and neonatal programme implemented in Somalia is to strengthen the planning and management of healthcare services including reproductive health. Somalia health authorities have initiated reproductive health interventions to strengthen early referral of complicated pregnancies, support safe childbirth or delivery, increase access to emergency obstetric care, extension of obstetric services to vulnerable communities, mitigate female genital mutilation, prevent sexual and gender violence, promote preventive measures and treatment of HIV and sexually transmitted in health centers.
Essential health services for safe motherhood by health workers or promoters and traditional birth attendants support clinical attendance, better medical care as well as provide a link between the health facilities and community. The clinic staff and traditional birth attendants or health promoters provide information and assist in labour or facility based deliveries, childbirths, antenatal care, vaccination, postnatal care and child feeding. Volunteersand traditional birth attendants or health promoters are vital in promoting better health outcomes, behaviour and practices at the community level.
The need to build basic healthcare services, access to better nutrition and basic hygiene for mother and child has been recognised. Greater trust is created in the healthcare system with extensive information and awareness campaigns on the significance of immunisation. Training is provided to staff of district and regional health centres to enhance mother and child health and nutrition services. The public and private training institutions are accredited to strengthen technical and educational skills of the professionals like midwives, obstetricians and nutrition advisors to understand and convey the importance of basic nutrition, hygiene and healthcare.

Online Course in Maternal and Child Health

James Lind Institute (JLI) provides an online program – Advanced Diploma in Maternal and Child Health. JLI also conducts an online Masters in Public Health and an Advanced Diploma in Tropical Medicine, Surveillance and Immunization. These programs help develop trained maternal and child health professionals.
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