On 16 June, Dr Mamunur Malik, WHO Representative to Somalia, and H.E. Staffan Tillander, Swedish Ambassador to Somalia, signed an agreement, totalling 4 300 000 SEK (US$ 517 868), aimed at strengthening the National Institute of Health and health information systems in Somalia, through the financing of 2 senior WHO national staff positions.
The signature of this agreement marks years of close collaboration and partnership between WHO and Sweden in Somalia. It is built upon 2 non-financial memoranda of understanding signed between WHO and the Public Health Agency of Sweden, and between WHO and the SPIDER Center (Stockholm University).
The former aims to support the establishment of an independent national institute of health in Somalia, while the latter aims to strengthen the digitalization of health information and the development of an integrated disease surveillance and response system across the country.
This agreement will therefore enable the WHO Somalia country office to recruit and retain 2 senior level national staff to support the activities of the National Institute of Health and other disease surveillance functions to support SPIDER-related activities.
Both staff members will act as WHO’s primary focal points for close engagement and technical collaboration with these agencies, health authorities, as well as other relevant partners.
“This agreement marks a remarkable chapter in the history of collaboration between WHO and Sweden in Somalia. The collaboration and agreement aim at improving health information management system in Somalia by working closely with SPIDER and will provide critical human resources support to operationalize and transform the newly functioning National Institute of Health of Somalia as a premier centre in the country for public health research, front-line health workforce development, public health laboratory, emergency preparedness and outbreak response, as well as for leading disease-specific control programmes in the country. We are confident that this support of Sweden will go a long way in protecting the vulnerable and promoting health with a view to building a safer world for everyone in Somalia,” said Dr Malik, WHO Representative.
“Access to health care touches people in their everyday life. Somalia is step by step rebuilding its health systems, around the country, in towns, villages, for girls and boys, mothers and fathers, young and old. Working with WHO to support these life-saving efforts is part of our partnership with the Somali people,” said H.E. Staffan Tillander, Swedish Ambassador to Somalia.
This important contribution from Sweden to WHO in Somalia further consolidates the innovative partnership that already exists between the two, as well as the collective efforts of both to achieve better health outcomes for all Somalis towards universal health coverage and health for all.