The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been supporting the health care system in Somalia since the collapse of the government in 1991, which led to the breakdown of the health care system and infrastructure. ICRC in collaboration with the Somali Red Crescent Society (SRCS) started providing support by opening health posts, expanding them to health centers and hospitals offering care to those injured in the conflict.
The ICRC is currently supporting the first aid program, primary health care, hospitals, nutrition activities and referral of patients from one level of care to the next depending on their needs (continuum of care). The SRCS runs the first aid program with the support of the ICRC first aid team. The program builds the capacity of the SRCS first aid volunteers and the community on first aid, equipping them with the necessary skills to respond to emergency situations and administer first aid care. In 2016, three First Aid (FA) action teams were initiated across 3 major towns namely Mogadishu, Galkayo and Las Caanod to respond to emergencies and refer the injured to hospitals.
In addition to the first aid program, the ICRC supports SRCS in running of 29 primary health care (PHC) facilities (20 fixed clinics and 9 mobile clinics), all providing curative, preventive and promotion services. Nineteen of these health facilities also provide nutrition services to children under five years with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) across South Central Somalia. In 2018, the ICRC introduced the Basic Emergency Obstetric and New Born Care (BEmONC) services as a pilot project in two of the PHC facilities. In addition, community health-based program in Dalhiska and a community-based surveillance in Baidoa were also started as pilot projects with the aim of linking PHC program to the community.
The ICRC war surgery and emergency medical care for combatants and non- combatants across the country has a longstanding history. Presently, ICRC supports four hospitals with a total bed capacity of 410 beds in South Central Somalia. The hospitals are Keysaney (since 1992), Medina (2001), Kismayo (2013) and Baidoa (2014), all offering war surgery. In addition, Baidoa and Kismayo hospitals also provide inpatient nutrition care for SAM children with medical complications. In 2016, ICRC together with the Norwegian Red Cross provided 20 beds to Keysaney Hospital for the fistula surgery support. The SRCS does community mobilization and referral of patients with fistula from PHC facilities to hospitals.
The overall support that the ICRC provides to different components of health are medicines, equipment, capacity building, staff incentives and running costs. The ICRC is supporting the transformation of health programs in Somalia with the collaboration of SRCS, Partner National Societies (PNS) and hospital management teams, to align ICRC health activities in Somalia with the concept of continuum of care.