Solar power is inspiring collective actions to strengthen Somalia’s health system for UHC

18 May 2022
Somalia has turned to solar power in rebuilding a health system recovering from a protracted conflict that has taken a significant toll on its public health infrastructures.
 
In January 2021, Somalia’s Ministry of Health, supported by the WHO Innovation hub and the WHO Country Office, piloted a solar-powered oxygen delivery system in Hanano General hospital in Galmudug state, working closely with a collaboration of thirteen development, humanitarian, and global health agencies under a Global Action Plan for SDG3 (SDG3-GAP).

The collaboration seeks, among other things, to support countries in matching demand with the supply of implementation-ready innovations to accelerate progress toward the health-related goals of the SDG. The collaboration was further enriched by the expertise of the innovator behind the solution, Dr Michael Hawkes, and critical transition-to-scale funding from Grand Challenges Canada.

The outcomes have been remarkable. The solar-powered oxygen system has come to symbolize life for Somalian children in a country where pneumonia accounts for at least one-fifth (15,160) of deaths among children under five years. For example, Abdiaziz Omar Abdi, a two-year-old child in severe distress, was admitted to Hanano hospital in March 2021 with oxygen levels of 60 percent, down from the required minimum level of 90 percent. Doctors immediately put him on oxygen along with ampicillin and dexamethasone medications. Abdiaziz would probably not have survived had he come in sick three months earlier. But three days later, his oxygen level was up to 90 percent, and he was discharged alive and well. “I came because my child was unwell, he was not breathing properly, he was not breastfeeding,” says relieved mother, Zahra. “Now he is breastfeeding. He is feeling well.” Moreover, Abdiaziz received the treatment at no cost. 

Source- WHO

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