Abstract

Limited provision of quality healthcare in Somalia has contributed to infant (109/1000), child (180/1000) and maternal (1,400/100,0000) mortality rates that border the world’s highest (WHO). The self-declared Republic of Somaliland (NW Somalia), with 3.85 million people, is recovering from ruins of conflict. The health sector was hardest hit with distinct challenges in urban and rural areas. The rough terrain of rural Somaliland presents unique challenges in healthcare delivery. Reaching remote communities with meaningful services is difficult even for 4WD ambulances. Health Poverty Action is supported by the UK Department for International Development (UKAID), to implement an integrated essential package of health services in 8 health centres and 15 primary health units in Sahil region. Early 2012 has revealed visible initial successes with rising outpatient numbers and community acceptance and support of the infrastructure. Health Poverty Action (HPA) has been working in the Self-declared republic of Somaliland, NW Somalia, since 1994. In 2011, after a successful 5 year programme supporting maternal and child health for internally displaced persons and returnees in the capital Hargeisa, HPA started an Essential Package of Health Services pilot programme in rural Sahil region, supported by the UK Department for International Development (UKAID). The following photos document the journey HPA and Ministry of Health staff take to just one of 8 health centres now supported in Sahil region, Somaliland. Laciidle village (10N 10′ 32.03″, 045E 59’ 12.79’’) is “the place of sand” in Somali language. It is an isolated area with approximately 3,700 persons. A journey to Lasciidle requires passion and commitment to humanity; many locals have heard of it but never been there. The nearest town is Berbera (123km, 76miles) away. The journey to Lasciidle starts with a sand road that only gets deeper as you travel 4 hours east, alternating sporadically with rocky passes. HPA has established a health center in this region to meet health needs of the community. HPA provides essential medical supplies, health worker training and has initiated a referral system.

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