New Project: Galkayo, Puntland, Somalia 🇸🇴

The disparity in civil registration between low and middle-income countries has reached critical levels, posing significant challenges, particularly in addressing public health issues. Implementing civil registration in these regions is not merely a luxury but a necessity to enhance the well-being of their populations. MakeDeathsCount is taking proactive steps in Galkayo, Puntland, Somalia, a country lacking substantial civil registration. High rates of maternal mortality persist in Somalia without proper registration, hindering timely interventions and solutions. The longer these issues remain unaddressed, the greater the risk to civilians.

MDC intends to utilize a first of its kind machine learning algorithm that processes verbal autopsies and generates data about the most probable causes of death in a specific area. MDC will be working with the non governmental organization, Somali Institute for Health Research. The community service workers of this institution will aid in obtaining the verbal autopsies in Somalia.

Obtaining civil registration information in Galkayo, Putland, Somalia presents significant challenges. The region is plagued by severe flooding, disrupting field surveys and causing project delays. Moreover, language barriers exist as many rural Somalians do not speak English, complicating the process of surveying for verbal autopsies. However, through collaboration with the Somali Institute of Health Research, we successfully translated our survey into Somali, mitigating the language barrier. Despite this progress, respondents still exhibit hesitancy and distrust towards the interview process. To address this, we provide consistent reassurance from surveyors and supervisors, while educating interviewees about our project objectives and the utilization of collected data.

As MDC prepares for the pilot phase and moves forward with the project, we aim to eventually identify leading causes of maternal mortality in Galkayo, Puntland, Somalia. Our overall goal is to demonstrate the viability of using verbal autopsy to identify preventable deaths in rural areas of Somalia, and aid in facilitating swift and effective public health interventions. Support for MDC, particularly financial assistance as we enter the pilot phase, will greatly contribute to our mission of saving lives through civil registration. Interested parties are encouraged to contact MDC to get involved.

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