By Shyam Sharan Pathak and Fatima Gohar
With a newborn mortality rate of 38.5 per 1,000 live births and stillbirth rate 35.5 per 1,000 total births respectively, Somalia is one of the countries with the poorest newborn health indicators globally. To help address the situation, the Ministry of Health and UNICEF Somalia officially launched the first ever Every Newborn Action Plan for the country.
The launch ceremony counted on the participation of the Minister of Health, Dr. Fawziya Abikar Nur, who inaugurated the event, as well as members of the Parliamentary Committee, senior Officials from the Federal Ministry of Health and member states, partners including Save the Children and United Nations representatives. Mr. Werner Schultink, the UNICEF Representative in the country, joined Dr. Nur at the opening.
In partnership with the Ministry of Health at both the federal and state levels, UNICEF consultatively conducted a bottleneck analysis across the country. The analysis – which counted on support from senior Ministry of Health officials, health care providers, civil society representatives, midwifery associations, academic institutions, local and international NGOs and community leaders – identified key gaps in the effective coverage of high impact maternal and newborn interventions, as well as health system level challenges.
Using the same consultative approach, partners developed an action plan to address key challenges both at the system and programme levels, contributing to the achievement of the National Reproductive Maternal Newborn Child and Adolescent Health Strategic Plan, as well as the Sustainable Development Goals and Universal Health Coverage targets.
The uniqueness of the Somalia ENAP is that it has one specific strategic objective on strengthening the delivery of high-quality maternal and newborn health interventions in humanitarian and emergency settings, which will help the country strengthen and integrate newborn health into national and subnational emergency preparedness plans.