United Nations Representatives hand over oxygen equipment to Galmudug authorities, witness start of COVAX vaccination campaign in Galmudug

30 Mar 2021

United Nations Representatives hand over oxygen equipment to Galmudug authorities, witness start of COVAX vaccination campaign in Galmudug

Dhusamareb, Galmudug – The Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Adam Abdelmoula, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) Representative for Somalia, Dr. Mamunur Malik, visited yesterday the Hanano Hospital in Dhushamareb, Galmudug State of Somalia, to officially hand over three solar-powered oxygen plants to the Galmudug Ministry of Health.

Like most of Somalia, Galmudug - home to nearly 1.5 million people - struggles for resources when it comes to healthcare. According to authorities, only 38 per cent of the population have access to healthcare in the entire Federal Member State.

“Oxygen is a smart investment and is essential for saving lives for all emergency medical conditions,” said Mr. Abdelmoula during the handover ceremony. “The right investment now will help in the future not only for COVID-19 treatment but also all the diseases that warrants for supplemental oxygenation therapy, such as pneumonia,” he added.

The handover of the solar powered oxygen plants is an invaluable investment in the health of the Galmudug population. There is global evidence that solar-powered oxygen can reduce child deaths among pediatric admissions in general hospitals and child deaths from pneumonia. Such systems can also be substantially cheaper than standard oxygen cylinders in the longer run. In a country like Somalia, where infant and maternal mortality rates are among the highest in the world, such systems that can supply oxygen without a power grid are indispensable.

Dr. Abdi Abdulle Hirsi, Director of Hanano Hospital is no stranger to challenges.

“I laid the first stone when this hospital was being built, and I’m very proud of the success it has achieved over the years,” Dr. Abdi said.

In the maternal ward, several beds with colorful sheets contained mothers to be and babies who had just been born. A tiny infant, just days old, was receiving life-saving support through the oxygen mask that had been adjusted to fit his small face.

“We have women who come to our hospital from as far as 100 kilometres away, with no means of transport,” he added.  

The Hanano Hospital sits in Dhushamareb town, an area interspersed with swaths of desert land, savanna trees and colossal ant hills. The medical staff at Hanano Hospital are committed to finding innovative approaches and provide quality healthcare services to people in Galmudug State.

The United Nations in Somalia will continue to work with partners to replicate this project, which has a lives-saving impact, to other locations in Galmudug and the rest of Somalia.