The World Health Organization Wednesday announced that Somalia will receive 1.2 million doses of the Oxford Astrazaneca vaccine this month.
Mamunur Rahman Malik, the WHO head in Somalia, told VOA Somali service on Wednesday evening that the vaccine will cover 600,000 frontline health workers, which is 3% of the Horn of African country’s population.
He said the country will get more doses in March and April this year to cover 20% of its population.
The 1.2 million vaccine doses will be handed over to the Somali government for free, but it will need to buy more vaccines to immunize the remaining 80% of the country’s population.
Somalia has so far recorded 4,814 overall cases, including 962 active cases, and 132 deaths, according to the Somali Health Ministry.
Meanwhile, the EU launched a €5 million ($6 million) project to support the WHO activities and the Federal Government of Somalia to prevent further spread of COVID-19 and strengthen the health services delivery across the country.
Health Minister Fawziya Abikar Nur said: “In addition to saving lives and preventing the spread of COVID-19, this project will help us build a legacy for Somalia’s health systems.”
“We are grateful to our partners, the EU and WHO, who are supporting us to reduce the burden and effects of deadly and communicable diseases, save lives of our community members and make our health systems stronger and more effective.”
Nicolas Berlanga Martínez, EU Ambassador to Somalia, said: “COVID-19 should be seen as an opportunity to develop better public services and make Federal and States’ institutions work together in a more coordinated way.”
*Magdalene Mukami also contributed to this report