Somaliland: Gollis University Embarked on Community Health Outreach Project

Ceel Sheekh (also spelled Ceel Sheikh or Eil-Sheikh is a beach-side settlement in Somaliland. It is located in the northern part of the country and of near Lughaya. 
Gollis University led by the Vice president for Admin and Finance, Mr. Isak M. Akush and team of clinicians consisted of 5 Medical Doctors visited Eil-Sheikh, including the Director of School of Medicine and Health Sciences – Saad Ahmed Abdiwali, The Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery and his associate – Dr. Abdirizak Yousuf Abdillahi and Dr. Abdifatah M. Ibrahim respectively – conducted health care programs over the last 2 days in Eil-Sheek in order to carry out health programs designed to emphasize both curative and preventive health care services. The arrangement and accommodation was facilitated by the President of Gollis University, Hargeisa Campus, Dr. Abdi Hussein Gass. He provided the place to stay during the 2 days that we were doing the free health care services.

“Gollis University Empowers its Students as Professional Leaders Committed to Making a Positive Difference” School of Medicine and Health Science (SOMAHS), Crrl Sheikh Community Outreach Program

The concept of the Community Health Outreach program was envisioned to respond to the significant health problems facing the majority of the Somaliland population (55% Rural Community). Somaliland is said to have one of the worst maternal mortality ratios in the world and recent reports estimate the country’s maternal and mortality ratio to be between 1400 and 1000 per 100,000 live births, although currently improving slightly. Life expectancy at birth is also estimated between 47 and 57 years, infant mortality rate is 90/1000 while the under-five mortality ratio is about 145/1000 and fully immunized child is a mere 5%, (Somaliland National Health Policy, 2013)

With financial constraints, under skilled, under paid and shortage of professional health workers, the Somaliland government has been facing numerous challenges in reducing the high prevalence and disease incident rates with the majority of them being easily preventable. In addition, as stated by the Somaliland National Health Policy, less than 15% of the rural population have access to the public health system for regular complaints and there are significant barriers to access and utilization in rural areas.

The Somalia civil war significantly affected the country’s health infrastructure which was very limited and poorly planned to begin with. Health care delivery institutions suffered a lot; hospitals, health posts, MCH Centers and other health institutions were either seriously damaged or completely looted.

Yet, the Somaliland population continues to increase, significant number of diseases are becoming persistent, there are emerging/re-emerging diseases, limited health centers, shortage of proper equipped health centers and in adequate skilled health professionals to deal with all of these compiling health issues.

In order to contribute to Somaliland’s health improvement initiatives and give back to its community, Gollis University embarked on the Community Health Outreach Project under its Social responsibility ideology, which is currently one of its six major themes in the 2015-2020 strategic plan.
In addition of being beneficial to the community, the project will also benefit the health science students, particularly the medicine students who will attain the essential required practical knowledge and patient interaction skills from the project.

Main Goal of the Project 

Taking an active and a leading role in the betterment and enhancement of the Somaliland community’s health by providing health services to hard-to-reach communities, while providing drugs to needed communities.

Specific Objectives of the Project

  • Assessing and diagnosing the general health of patients within the target community
  • Providing diagnosis and management to any medical condition affecting patients seen
  • Providing referral to patients with chronic illness requiring major medical treatment and care
  • Providing health education and health promotion to patients and their families
  • Conducting health promotion sessions for the community through the use of visual teaching materials
  • Promoting the reliability and importance of patient medical history recording skills
  • Promoting patient-doctor communication
  • Sensitizing students to rural health care needs
  • Introducing and promoting charitable medical work to students and staff
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