Somalia: WHO and Ministry of Health are building innovations to create a climate-resilient eco-health system

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From 13 to 17 June 2022, the Federal Ministry of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization (WHO) country office for Somalia hosted a technical mission from WHO headquarters and the Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, consisting of experts from the new Innovation Center team. . , as well as the Environment, Climate Change, and Health teams. The mission aims to bring together key partners, including UN agencies, non-governmental organizations and donors, to explore and advocate for ways to strengthen Somalia’s health system using climate-friendly solutions, such as the use of solar power to deliver oxygen and electrify health. especially in remote and hard to reach locations.

The global climate crisis, identified as the single greatest health crisis facing humanity today, has resulted in the extreme phenomena of drought and flooding that occur every year in Somalia. Meanwhile, the ongoing drought has put Somalia on the brink of famine, with 6.1 million people experiencing food insecurity and 1.7 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger.

Coupled with high levels of indoor air pollution, caused by the use of fossil fuels in households, and air temperatures that are expected to increase every year, these conditions create an unavoidable health storm in an already fragile country.

WHO has installed 3 solar-powered medical oxygen systems in Dhushamareb, Baidoa and Kismayo. The first plant, established early 2021 in Dhushamareb, paves the way for replication and possible expansion, as there is a 96% survival rate in children admitted to this hospital with birth asphyxia, pneumonia, and other medical conditions that require immediate treatment. . oxygen therapy. These children may have lost their lives without access to the high-grade medical oxygen provided by this innovative system.

“During our innovative journey to improve access to medical oxygen, we discovered that the need for a reliable source of electricity could be met using solar power. Innovation can make this feasible and sustainable in Somalia. Therefore, we are currently considering the possibility of using solar power to provide sufficient electricity to power all health facilities – from medical oxygen and refrigerators for vaccines, to incubators, lighting and operating rooms,” said HE Dr Fawziya Abikar Nur. , Minister of Health and Human Services, Federal Government of Somalia.

After a visit to the solar-powered oxygen plant at Hanano Hospital in Dhushamareb, AI Director, Department of Digital Health and Innovation and Unit Head, at the WHO Innovation Center, Louise Agersnap, urged partners to reflect on the situation in Somalia. “What makes a pregnant woman travel hundreds of miles to give birth to a baby she can hold? It’s a hospital “beacon” that has reliable solar-powered electricity that can guarantee safe births, he said. “Innovation is a tool for solving problems, and in this case, we solve many problems in one fell swoop. Somalia is leading the way, and we at the WHO Innovation Center are proud to collaborate with the Government and WHO country teams. The innovative use of solar power has brought the country many victories – saving lives; save health care costs; and save the environment by using renewable green energy.”

“Delaying action means resisting action,” said Salvatore Vinci, WHO’s Sustainable Energy Advisor. “We must act now to support more health facilities to access electricity through solar energy. Somalia makes the best case for investing in solar energy in health centers with long hours of sunlight, limited and expensive electricity, and hospitals without reliable power.”

Explaining how electrification of facilities can be beneficial, WHO Chief Technical Officer and Head of Air Quality, Energy and Health Unit, Heather Adair-Rohani, said, “Electrifying health care facilities with solar energy can ensure access to quality essential services for women and children, promote the use of healthcare services, cut healthcare costs, while protecting our climate.”

Dr Mamunur Rahman Malik, WHO Representative to Somalia and Head of Mission stressed, “There is no alternative to oxygen. Pneumonia is one of the most common causes of child death in Somalia. Every child and every human being has the right to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and access quality health services. It is the duty of all of us to ensure that every Somali has access to these human rights, using innovative and climate-friendly solutions.”

Distributed by the APO Group on behalf of the World Health Organization Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean.

This Press Release has been issued by APO. Content is not monitored by the Business Africa editorial team and is not content that has been vetted or validated by our editorial team, evidence readers or fact checkers. The publisher is fully responsible for the contents of this announcement.

Somalia: WHO and Ministry of Health are building innovations to create a climate-resilient eco-health system

Source link Somalia: WHO and Ministry of Health are building innovations to create a climate-resilient eco-health system

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