Somalia nutrition cluster geo-tagging: capacity assessment
The *Somalia Nutrition Cluster commissioned Forcier to geo-tag nutrition services delivery sites and assess their capacity across Somaliland, Puntland and central and southern Somalia. The main objective was to validate the operational status of the sites and identify gaps in service delivery to strengthen the existing capacity of emergency nutrition units and improve their emergency response preparedness. The findings show that across Somaliland, Puntland and central and southern Somalia, the concentration of fixed nutrition sites varies within regions and districts. In Somaliland, many sites are in the capital, Hargeysa, while the eastern regions remain vastly underserved. In particular, Sool emerges as the region most lacking basic services, supplies and infrastructure at fixed nutrition sites. Similarly, in Puntland, the majority of fixed nutrition facilities are found in Garowe, while the rest of Nugaal and districts in Bari have a lower concentration of sites, to a worrisome degree. In central and southern Somalia, Banadir has the highest concentration of sites and implementing partners, while insecurity impedes humanitarian access to other regions.
Across the three zones, mobile teams play a key role in delivering nutrition services in remote and isolated areas. Unfortunately, limited personnel and resources prevent them from visiting the same village more than twice monthly. In an emergency, such infrequent visits cannot guarantee adequate service provision to affected communities. In contrast, the fixed sites are open much more often but are out of the reach of the most isolated rural communities. The results highlight the need to focus on the quality of nutrition services provided, specifically training personnel to provide nutrition services in an emergency. Positively, medical staff, including nurses, emerge as the most highly trained staff across the three zones. However, there is a critical shortage of training in Nutrition in Emergency (NiE) in many regions.
In the short-term, priorities should focus on plugging this gap for all medical staff. In the medium term, however, it will be necessary to restructure the system and to implement pedagogic activities linked to hiring policies to ensure the skills of the personnel do not compromise the quality of the service offered.
The purpose of the geo-tagging initiative was to identify access, capacities and gaps in the whole NC across Somalia to better inform emergency response by the cluster, the Ministry of Health (MoH) and development stakeholders. The survey will function as a foundation for the service plan that will be rolled out by the cluster lead agencies (CLAs) and the MoH. It is intended to serve as a valuable overview for the planning and scale-up of integrated management of acute malnutrition (IMAM).
* The Somali Nutrition Cluster (SNC) has been operational in Somalia since 2006, following the HCT recommendations to activate the cluster system in order to effectively coordinate the humanitarian crisis in the country. The Nutrition Cluster coordinates a network of 100 partners, of which close to 80 per cent are national NGOs. Most are based in central and southern Somalia. The vision of SNC is to safeguard and improve the nutritional status of emergency-affected populations in Somalia by ensuring an appropriate response that is predictable, timely, effective and at scale. Its core purpose is to enable cluster-wide stakeholders and sub-national coordination mechanisms to have all the necessary capacity to achieve timely, quality and appropriate nutrition responses to emergencies. The SNC supports coordination in strategic decision-making, planning and strategy development, capacity building, advocacy, monitoring and reporting, and contingency planning/preparedness throughout Somalia.