The President of Puntland State of Somalia, His Excellency Said Cabdullahi Deni, has commended UNFPA Somalia for the good cooperation with the Government in working towards prioritizing health services and youth empowerment in Puntland.
“It is great to have met with UNFPA Representative in Somalia Mr. Anders Thomsen and Senior Advisor for Policy and Advocacy for UNFPA Somalia Dr. Maryam Qasim. We discussed cooperation among the Government of Puntland and UNFPA Somalia on health priorities and youth in Puntland,” stated President Deni on 28 November after meeting Mr. Thomsen and the UNFPA Somalia delegation.
Mr. Thomsen was in Puntland to visit and share the progress of programmes which are supported by UNFPA Somalia. He informed the president that he appreciates the good partnership with the Government of Puntland.
The UNFPA Representative also accompanied the Ambassador of Sweden to Somalia His Excellency Staffan Tillander and delegations from the embassy and UNFPA Somalia to the launch of Puntland’s first Health and Demographic Survey; titled the Puntland Health and Demographic Survey (PLHDS) Report 2020. The survey offers decision-makers and stakeholders salient information on the health and lives of women and children in Puntland.
The launch of the PLHDS was graced by the Vice President of Puntland His Excellency Ahmed Osman Elmi, the Minister of Planning, Economic Development and International Cooperation His Excellency Abdiqafar Haange and the Minister of Health His Excellency Jama Hassan.
HE Ambassador Tillander commended the Puntland Government for spearheading women empowerment legislations such as Sexual Offenses Law.
Earlier, the delegations from the Embassy of Sweden and UNFPA visited the Bureau of Forensic Science, a national forensic centre, which is the first of its kind in Somalia. The bureau has been instrumental in collecting forensic evidence on sexual offences from crime scenes, analyzing and providing expert testimony to the courts. The bureau has also been instrumental in training health professionals and law enforcement agents in recording and collection of evidence. Recently, the bureau has played an instrumental role in establishing COVID-19 laboratories across several towns in Puntland through the provision of technical support as well as essential equipment for COVID-19 tests.
The two delegations also conducted a joint visit to the Tilmaame Youth Centre, which is run Puntland Youth Peer Network. The youth centre delivers holistic and integrated programmes that foster young people’s well-being and development, paying close attention to both the context in which young people live and to the relevant standards and principles. Topics covered at the youth centre respond to a wide range of youth concerns and needs, including those related to reproductive health, harmful traditional practices, developmental needs related to employment and entrepreneurship, communication, decision-making and leadership skills, critical and creative thinking and the ability to cope with emotions, stress, and conflict.
In addition, Mr. Thomsen had several bilateral meetings with ministers of Health, Women Development and Family Affairs, Labour, Youth and Sports. He updated the authorities on the new UNFPA Somalia Country Programme for 2021 to 2025 and discussed the strategic partnership between UNFPA and the ministries.
The UNFPA Representative also visited some of UNFPA project sites such as Safe Shelter for Survivors of Gender-Based Violence, run by the Ministry of Women Development and Family Affairs. The safe shelter accommodates GBV survivors, including those that have survived rape, domestic violence, physical violence, and forced marriages. In addition to safe and secure accommodation, the centre provides basic and advanced counselling services, life skills and vocational training skills and provision of legal aid services in collaboration with legal service providers.
Mr. Thomsen also undertook a visit to Bahnaano Midwifery-Led Centre, a maternity facility that provides basic emergency obstetric care for pregnant and lactating women in Garowe and surrounding villages. The leadership of the centre and its staff are graduates of the midwifery-training program supported by UNFPA.