Somalia: UN Calls for Joint Efforts to Tackle COVID-19 in Somalia

The United Nations on Tuesday called for joint efforts and unity in the fight against the novel coronavirus in Somalia which has confirmed three cases.

In a joint statement, the UN appealed to everyone in Somalia to come together in the fight against COVID-19, saying Mogadishu is facing the unprecedented challenge of the novel coronavirus disease.

"The UN family in Somalia stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the people of Somalia during this testing time. We will continue to support all efforts to address the immediate health and long-term socio-economic impact of COVID-19," said James Swan, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia.

Swan said the UN has established system-wide operating, medical and support procedures to reinforce the ongoing efforts to contain COVID-19 at the federal and state levels as well as limit the possibility of further spread of the virus.

The UN called for a cessation of acts of violence and terrorism so that all resources and support can be channeled to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UN said a task force has been established to ensure business continuity and agencies have developed a detailed preparedness and response plan in support of the government's efforts.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said it will support the Somali health sector by scaling up its operational readiness and response to COVID-19.

Mamunur Rahman Malik, WHO Country Representative in Somalia said the UN health agency's support has been essential to rapidly establish a mechanism for testing and confirmation of suspected cases and isolating suspected cases to prevent onward transmission.

"The WHO is heavily engaged with the Somali health authorities for case findings, contact tracing, testing, isolation and containment activities with the intention of virus suppression and delaying patient surge," said Malik.

Other UN agencies and programs are supporting the implementation of the COVID-19 response plan by providing technical expertise and logistics to the government and federal member states.

Some of these, the UN said, is training health workers, providing equipment for isolation centers, including testing kits, personal protective gear, and expanding early detection capabilities.

"Our robust support to Somalia continues. All agencies remain engaged and continue to deliver critical assistance to those most in need," said Adam Abdelmoula, UN resident and humanitarian coordinator for Somalia.

The World Food Programme plans to distribute two months' worth of food rations in anticipation of the deteriorating situation.

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