Mothers and newborn babies in Somalia suffer from high levels of death and disease.
In 2006, the estimated maternal mortality ratio was 1044–1400 per 100 000 live births. A woman in Somalia has a one in 10 chance of dying due to pregnancy or childbirth-related causes during the course of her life.
Mothers die due to lack of access to emergency obstetric care for timely treatment of the main complications of childbirth such as haemorrhage, obstructed labour, eclampsia and infection.
The infant mortality rate in Somalia is 119 per 1000 live births. The perinatal death rate is estimated at 81 per 1000 live births, with neonatal deaths believed to account for more than half of these.
The high perinatal mortality rate is mainly due to suboptimal pregnancy and birth care and conditions, resulting in low birth weight, premature births and birth injuries.
Reproductive health service coverage in Somalia is low. Antenatal care coverage is 26% and the number of basic emergency obstetric care facilities per 500 000 population is 0.8, compared with an international standard of 5.
In response to this alarming situation, WHO and its partners have implemented a maternal and neonatal programme for Somalia. The goal is to strengthen the health authorities in the planning and management of health services including reproductive health.
Reproductive health interventions for Somalia include:
support for safe delivery, including access to emergency obstetric care
strengthening of early referral of complicated pregnancies
extension of obstetric fistula repair services to vulnerable communities
advocacy activities to end the practice of female genital mutilation
implementation of sexual and gender-violence mitigation measures
HIV and sexually transmitted infections prevention and treatment services within mother and child health centres.