On Monday, 28 September 2020, Somali Public Agenda organized a launch forum for its new report on the governance of Covid-19 in Somalia. Held at Safari Hotel in Mogadishu, the Public Agenda Forum was attended by over 30 participants, of both genders and from different segments of the society including the civil society umbrella groups, women’s organizations, youth, government officials, university lecturers, and the media.
A summary of the key findings of the report was presented to the audience by Farhan Isak Yusuf, one of the SPA researchers. This was followed by remarks from two panelists who co-authored the report. A panelist stated that the study found that there were many weaknesses in both governance measures put in place and how these measures were implemented. Another panelist noted how Covid-19 spread across Somalia and responses were limited to Mogadishu and main towns of the Federal Member States. There were no Covid-19 testing kits available in many districts of the country. Moreover, the Somali government did not disclose the number of people who were being tested and only provided figures for positive cases and those who recovered or died. It is believed that many people have died as a result of this virus in Somalia, but only 98 deaths were officially registered by the authorities.
Participants asked questions to the panelists, shared their experiences and presented some recommendations. The key issues discussed by the participants were:
- Lack of coordinated response at federal and state level authorities. Some participants stressed the need to learn lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic in order to better deal with future outbreaks.
- The importance of data and evidence for public policy and decision-making was emphasized. One of the things suggested was the need to officially record death cases across the country and for the municipalities to manage burial sites.
- The importance of public awareness and community support was described as a key element in the virus containment and prevention measures.
- The economic impact of the virus on the most vulnerable groups of the society was highlighted by some participants.
Watch the forum video here