Somalia | Priority areas | Essential medicines

Essential medicines

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Laboratory workers testing the quality of medicine samples collected from a number of pharmaciesFour minilabs are established at major hospitals in Somalia. Photo: WHO The essential medicines programme conducts a range of activities to improve the quality of medicines available to the Somali population and the effective and rational use of these medicines both in public health care services and the private sector.

As an integral part of strengthening the health system, the main focus of the essential medicines programme is to:

strengthen the medicines supply chain system including management, storage conditions and distribution;

build the capacity of health workers who manage medicines and other health commodities in both the public and private sectors, in their selection, quality, procurement, management, distribution and use;

provide reference materials for drug supply, management and rational use to health workers in English and Somali to promote the concept of "essential medicines" and their rational use;

support national health authorities in building a system, and developing appropriate drug policies and regulations, to ensure the availablity of affordable medicines, of assured quality.                                                                                                            

WHO in collaboration with the National Quality Control Laboratory in Nairobi, Kenya, has established four minilabs at hospitals in Hargeisa, Bosasso and Garowe for monitoring the quality of medicines. Medicine samples are collected from both public and private pharmacies for further analysis at the laboratory.

Related links

Essential medicines

Regional essential medicines programme


Key health-related statistics

Total population (000s)12 316
Maternal mortality ratio (per 100 000 live births) 732
Total life expectancy at birth (years) 55.4

Source: Framework for health information systems and core indicators for monitoring health situation and health system performance, 2018

See Somalia country profile

Regional Health Observatory

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WHO Representative
WHO Liaison Office for Somalia in Nairobi
PO Box 63565