NAIROBI, February 21, 2017 – Today, the World Bank hosted a roundtable discussion on the status of the Health Sector in Somalia. World Bank experts, Somali Government counterparts and international development partners convened around the newly released Country Health Status Note. “This Roundtable discussion harmonizes the health development approach used by country systems and other development actors. We are using this forum to let this approach inform future World Bank engagement in the Somali health sector,” said Hugh Riddell, Country Representative for the World Bank.
The report highlights the urgency to improve Health, Nutrition and Population (HNP) outcomes in Somalia that currently rank almost at the bottom globally, the importance of strengthening the nascent country systems, and the necessity to make policies based on data and evidence. The report is based on an extensive desk study, meetings with key informants, and an assessment of the health payroll systems in Somalia.
“Somalia faces several challenges in the health sector that require home-grown, contextualized development approaches. We welcome the international community’s commitment to holistic health sector support,” said Dr. Abdirizaak Yuusuf Ahmed, Deputy Director General at the Ministry of Health and Human Services, Federal Government of Somalia.
The Country Health Status Note supports the principle that substantial investment through a multi-sectoral approach is needed in Somalia to improve population health.
“Somalia, like most fragile states, needs to re-build its health system and this comes with a huge cost. Official donor assistance to health is not enough to meet population needs and therefore it remains critical for Somalia to develop sustainable and innovative health reform and financing strategies. We welcome the World Bank’s future engagement in the health sector,” said Mikael Lindvall, Swedish Ambassador to Somalia.
With limited allocation from government, the sector is quite dependent on donor-financing, private investment and out-of-pocket payment. While private investment is skewed toward hospital care, there is a need for developing sustainable financing strategies for basic reproductive, maternal and child health, and nutrition services. “It is important to align financing with huge country needs, target the poor and most vulnerable populations, and be innovative in fostering public-private partnership,” said Magnus Lindelow, Practice Manager of Health, Nutrition and Population Global Practice of the World Bank Group.
World Bank engagement in Somalia is mainly channeled through the Multi Partner Fund (MPF). The MPF portfolio, which focuses on core economic infrastructure, enabling economic growth, and effective and accountable governance, includes several cross-cutting issues addressed in the Country Health Status Note.