GOOBJOOG NEWS|MOGADISHU: Somalia risks a permanent COVID-19 endemic problem unless robust investments are made in the health sector, the World Bank has said noting if the current trend of vaccination is not changed, the country will not be able to realise universal vaccination by 2023.
The 6th Edition of the Somalia Economic Update released Tuesday, which focuses on investments in health warns Somalia remains unable to roll out mass vaccination owing to insufficient medical infrastructure, personnel and low vaccination uptake.
“If supply and distribution issues continue, Somalia will struggle to achieve widescale vaccination before the end of 2023, leaving it exposed to new, more virulent strains of the disease and raising the prospect that COVID-19 crisis will become a permanent, endemic problem in the country,” the report themed ‘Investing in Health to Anchor Growth’ read in part.
Investing in Somalia’s health system is thus not only an urgent political and economic consideration, it is also foundational to reducing fragility and enhancing economic development, the report added calling for increased spending in the health sector.
The report notes that spending in the health sector in Somalia is just 1.3 percent of total government spending in Somalia—a small fraction of the 29 percent of the budget that goes to the security sector. As of September 13, Somalia had recorded 18,568 cases of COVID-19 while 1032 people have since succumbed to the disease according to government records.
The World Bank report argues that increased investments in the health sector would increase economic opportunities, especially for women, whose labour force participation has far-reaching implications for human capital growth. It will also result in increased life expectancy and reductions in infertility which has a direct bearing on maternal mortality, household poverty, childhood malnutrition, and lower workforce participation among women.