Improving Access to Health and Service Delivery in Bosaso and Garowe Towns and Its Environs in the Puntland State of Somalia

Puntland State of Somalia – While there has been positive progress in Somalia’s health sector, the Puntland State of Somalia still faces enormous challenges especially in the delivery of better health services as envisaged in the ‘Somali Compact’ and the ‘New Deal Initiative’. The sector is particularly challenged by, among others, shortage of professional staff to provide better healthcare services.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM Somalia), through the Migration for Development in Africa programme (MIDA) funded by the Finland Ministry of Foreign Affairs, supported the development of the health sector in Puntland by strengthening the human resource base of the Puntland’s public healthcare institutions. In the project’s framework, IOM Somalia working in collaboration with the Puntland’s Ministry of Health (MoH) and the East African University (EAU) Hospital in Bosaso, Puntland, recruited three qualified Somali diaspora professionals to build the capacity of the hospital staff and medical health students at the university. The three specialists included a Nursing and Sterilization expert, a Sonography and Radiology expert and an Information Technology specialist.

The Operation and Sterilization nurse supported health service delivery in the operation theatre as well as provided continuous mentorship and formal trainings to the theatre nurses. As a result of the identification of gaps and priorities of the hospital, support was provided in areas such as Suture, Pre and Post Operation Care, and Clearing and Sterilization of surgical instruments.

The Sonography and Radiology expert  supported, trained and mentored over 182 medical students and clinical staff including 110 men and 72 women both at the EAU hospital in Bosaso town and the Garowe General Hospital (GGH). Additionally, the expert developed Sonography and Radiology guidelines and operational manuals in line with the international standards mainly on how to position, safeguard and limit radiation exposure.

MIDA Somalia’s Sonography and Radiology expert performs a procedure on a patient at East African University hospital outpatient facility in Bossaso, Puntland. © IOM Somalia 2016 (Photo: Mohamed Mohamoud)MIDA Somalia’s Sonography and Radiology expert performs a procedure on a patient at East African University hospital outpatient facility in Bossaso, Puntland. © IOM Somalia 2016 (Photo: Mohamed Mohamoud)

In order to provide accessible health services in to vulnerable groups in Bosaso town that could not afford to pay transport fees to the University hospital located at the outskirts of the city, the medical experts provided outreach healthcare services in the GGH and facilitated the opening of an Outpatient facility at the centre of Bosaso city.

“Travelling 7 Km to Bosaso to see doctors at the EAU hospital was expensive for us and we did not manage to go there. We are grateful to the outpatient facility now available in our area. I praise Allah for giving us this opportunity,”says one of the clients attended to by one of the MIDA experts in Bosaso.

As a result of the support provided by IOM Somalia, hospital staff and students have improved their skills and knowledge in provision of better health care services. Furthermore, health facilities supported by the project such as the operation theatre are now fully functional supported by knowledgeable local staff. Key hospital services are also accessible by vulnerable communities in Bosaso, Garowe, and beyond.