The Horn of Africa could become one of the worst hit areas
This is a challenging time for all of us. I hope that you and your family are well and staying as safe as possible.
As Somaliland’s Special Envoy, former World Health Organization Representative and former Minister of Foreign Affairs – as well as in my personal capacity as a healthcare professional, human rights activist and concerned senior citizen – I am sending an urgent appeal to the international community for humanitarian and medical assistance to support Somaliland to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. I would like to alert the world of the potentially massive humanitarian crisis and loss of life that COVID-19 may cause in the region.
Somaliland does not receive direct international funding
As you may know, Somaliland separated from Somalia in 1991, and not yet being recognized, receives very little direct support allocated by the international community via Somalia. Somaliland’s health care was just being developed after the war and remains fragile with health indicators that continue to be among the worst in the world. We now have reported cases of COVID-19, and I’m afraid that, if the world fails to extend urgent and direct medical assistance to Somaliland, hundreds of thousands – including large refugee population from Syria, Yemen, Ethiopia and Somalia who we host– could die from COVID-19.
We have no ventilators, no life-saving equipment, and lack the resources and the know-how to ensure that the Edna Adan University Hospital can save lives, and that our staff receives the training they need to better care for the sick in the event of major complications or respiratory failure. We have none of the essential supplies needed to diagnose and treat patients, including testing kits, protective gowns, masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, disinfectants, intravenous fluids and other basic hospital supplies.
But with your previous support to the Edna Adan Hospital Foundation, three ventilators are en route and a few thousand tests and masks have been ordered. However, we remain helpless in the face of a medical emergency of this magnitude.
To survive, we urgently need your continued assistance and medical expertise.
Edna Adan Ismail