SOMALIA – The Somalia’s Health Cluster has partnered with international and national health agencies in the country to drive innovative health care solutions for underserved communities amid ongoing drought such as providing lifesaving health services.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Health Cluster is playing a key role in coordinating the overall health response in the country and working hand in hand with the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and nutrition clusters for programmatic integrations.

The Health Cluster has participated in inter-cluster caravan missions to various drought-affected areas to assess the health situation, identify gaps and opportunities for support as well as mobilized funds through cross-cluster collaborations to integrate health, nutrition and WASH projects.

The Health Cluster is delivering a multifaceted response to manage the ongoing drought in Somali coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic that spells danger for food security for instance many Somali communities known to live rural and nomadic lifestyles have lost their livestock and crops.

Health Cluster Coordinators are responsible for facilitating and coordinating the engagement of health partners in countries to deliver quality programmes and services to the affected populations.

Somalia’s Cluster stressed that funding allocation has been better prioritized to reach the most vulnerable populations in severely affected areas, stating that an integrated approach to the response to drought has been noted as the most effective and efficient way of providing assistance.

Health Cluster partners have so far benefited from 2 rounds of Somalia Humanitarian Fund allocations that amounted to approximately US$9 million to respond to the drought particularly targeting the most severely affected populations,” WHO reports.

The Health Cluster under the leadership of the World Health Organization has convened regular meetings with partners including the federal and state ministries of health to launch joint response measures such as sharing updates on the drought situation and anticipated public health impacts.

The meetings organized by Somalia’s Health cluster have created a unique platform for partners to discuss their response activities related to the drought as well as address critical gaps in drought response and management strategies.

In addition, the Health Cluster is closely working with the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) for a stakeholders’ inter-cluster response for drought which entailed the reconstitution of the Drought Operations Coordination Centre.

The Cluster noted that mental health and psychosocial support services remain a key gap in internally displaced persons camps, adding that emotional impact of changes to family and community life appears to have affected children’s lives in the camps at alarming rates.

Furthermore, the response team observed that women in the displaced persons camps experienced high cases of gender-based violence, outlining that the vices against women was mostly attributed to the lack of shelter as most newly arrived women and girls sleep outdoors.

Health Clusters exist to relieve suffering and save lives in humanitarian emergencies while advancing the well-being and dignity of affected populations through gathering and disseminating sound and relevant information to guide partners’ response.

The healthcare clusters also identifying and addressing gaps in technical knowledge and available guidance to ensure the health response follows global best practices and standards along with providing the right expertise at the right place at the right time.

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