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IOM-Operated Health Centre, Mobile Clinics Target Displaced in Puntland

By International Office of Migration (IOM)
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GENEVA, Switzerland, July 12, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- A health centre and a system of mobile clinics established by IOM and Puntland's Ministry of Health in Garowe have started to benefit some 10,000 residents of the Jowle settlement for internally displaced persons (IDPs) located on the outskirts of the city.

The Japanese-funded health facilities, which opened in May 2013, provide essential primary health care services for displaced families, including routine consultations, safe motherhood services, nutrition, control of communicable diseases and immunization (EPI).

The most common illnesses among the IDPs are respiratory infectious diseases, urinary tract infections and acute watery diarrhoea, especially among children. Before the facilities were introduced, the IDPs had to walk for six kilometres to the city to receive free healthcare services or seek out often unaffordable private clinics.

In order to build the capacity of the government's health system, IOM hired staff from the Ministry of Health and provided them with training and technical support. In Somalia health facilities are often owned and managed by NGOs.

“In the past I developed complications that the traditional midwife was not able to resolve. I was in pain, but could not afford to go to the private hospital several kilometres away. Now I can go to the midwife at the mobile clinic,” says Mariam Nur Salah, 42, who lives at Jowle.

More than 3,000 people have already benefited since the new services were launched two months ago, averaging some 75 patients per day. A healthcare facility of a similar size in the region receives around seven or eight patients a day or some 150 patients a month.

“We value IOM's collaboration with Puntland's Ministry of Health in providing services to the most vulnerable people in IDP settlements. The services reduce the burden on the government hospital in the city and this initiative should be a model for future health facilities,” says Dr Abdirizak Hersi Hassan, the Director General of Puntland's Ministry of Health.

IOM, in collaboration with the Ministry, is establishing similar health facilities and mobile clinics in other locations in Somalia and is expected to eventually expand the programme to reach another 100,000 IDPs, migrants, returnees and pastoralists, as well as affected host communities.