Strengthening the quality of Somali maternal health care

Somalia is a country currently recovering from more than 20+ years of complex civil war which, among other things has resulted in a total collapse of the countries health systems. Today, the country has one of the highest maternal and child mortality rates in the world and is “off-track” in reaching the eight Millennium Development Goals, and particularly the goals of reducing child mortality and improving maternal health by 2015.

The country does not only lack the critical number of qualified doctors, nurses and midwives needed to address the high maternal and newborn illness and Deaths, but also lacks quality maternal health care and services. Efforts to strengthen the country’s health systems remain therefore a key priority area.

Sweden in its Development Cooperation with Somalia during the period 2013-2017 contributes to the country’s health system by having concrete and focused results area on health and gender equality – and more specifically results indicators on reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health. Sweden is providing funding to a large joint health and nutrition programme (JHNP) – a programme which is jointly funded and jointly collaborated between Somali health authorities in the three regions of the country (Puntland, Somaliland and South Central Somalia) and three UN agencies (UNICEF, UNFPA, WHO). The programme aims at improving the six health systems building blocks which are leadership and governance; human resource for health; reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health; health financing; essential medicines and vaccines; and health information, management and systems).

Key to the goal of the country’s improved and strengthened maternal and newborn health is the role of midwives. To further strengthen the quality of midwifery care, Sweden provides funding to Dalarna University’s Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights web-based education programme – which is collaboration between the University of Hargeisa and Amoud, Somaliland Nursing and Midwifery Association and Dalarna University. Sweden funds a number of other programmes with implications on Somalia’s health system including an IOM secondment programme and a Swedish Somali diaspora programme.


Urban Sjöström
Head of Development Cooperation to Somalia, Sida

Barni Nor
Program Manager – Health