UN’s WHO issues latest Health warning in Somalia

  • In 2018, humanitarian organisation in Somalia estimated approximately 6.2M to be need of some kind of protection and humanitarian assistance. This equates to about half the total population of Somalia.
  • Of this 6.2M, humanitarian actors have targeted to reach 5.4M.
  • The Somalia Health Cluster on the other hand has identified 5.5M people to be in need of health services. Largely due to collapsed health infrastructure as a result of decades of conflict and insecurity. Persistent drought has further exacerbated the situation.
  • Of the 5.5M people in need, the health cluster targets to reach 4.3M people due to limited resources and inaccessibility of most parts of South and Central Somalia.
  • The drought in 2017 triggered an AWD/Cholera outbreak affecting 79,172 people with 1,159 deaths with a case fatality ratio of 1.46%.
  • The weakened health system carries forward the 2017 AWD/Cholera, measles and AFP/Polio burden to 2018.
  • In January and February of 2018, 2,853 new suspected cases of measles was reported. This follows 23,353 suspected cases reported in 2017.
  • In the same period, a total 826 new suspected AWD/Cholera cases with 7 deaths and a Case Fatality Rate (CFR) of 0.8% has been reported.
  • Another 66 suspected cases of AFP/Polio was reported since the beginning of 2018.

Situation Update

For the last two decades, Somalia has experienced a series of challenges ranging from conflicts, insecurity, floods, droughts and outbreaks of communicable disease. This precarious situation has led to massive displacement of people both within the country and in the East Africa region. Further, it has led to the loss of lives and destruction of several property and social infrastructures including health, education, agriculture and security services. Without such essential services, the livelihoods of the populace is threatened leading to disruption of sources of employment and poor nutrition standards. In their analysis in 2017, Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) notes that more than 3.1M Somalis are food insecure. In addition, the Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rate of children under five in Somalia according for FSNAU is 17.4% which is higher than the 15% emergency threshold. All these have a negative impact on the health and wellbeing of the general population.

Relating to health, in 2017 alone, Somalia experienced two communicable disease outbreaks and drought leading to displacement of over 1 million people. A joint monitoring by WHO/UNICEF and Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) reported 345 suspected cases of AFP/Polio and over 23,000 suspected cases of measles (rash and fever). Further, the December 2017 WHO Cholera situation report noted that there were over 79,000 suspected cases of AWD/Cholera with 1,100 deaths representing a CFR of 1.46%. Children suffered the most as 73.2% of the AWD/Cholera cases were children under five years.