June 26, 2017

Somaliland revisited

Anders Lygdman, Senior advisor International aid at Sahlgrenska I.C. recently returned from a field trip to Somaliland. He was there to follow-up and evaluate the international aid Region Västra Götaland is supporting through our partner Human Bridge. Joining him on this tour around recipient hospitals was Jan Wandeby, project controller and biomedical technician at Human Bridge, Hussein Abyan, project coordinator for Somalia at Human Bridge and Håkan Bergström journalist at the newspaper Hallands Nyheter.

By doing these on-the-site visits it is possible to assess to what degree the donated medical equipment have been put into use, its functionality and follow the result in comparison to the need analysis made before the interventions. Also, it is of utmost importance to have a dialogue with the recipients, such as hospital management and health authorities, in order to safeguard transparency and to evaluate the donation process.

Hargeisa Group of Hospitals. Medical devices donated by Human Bridge in 2014 is still fully functional and in use.

We could see the positive impact that our support has made for the low-resource environment that Somaliland health care providers operate in. Our donations of functional basic equipment, medical devices and consumables are a contribution which is needed and valued locally. For example; at the Hargeisa Group of Hospitals it was possible to see how equipment donated in 2014 still were in use every day and in Berbera District Hospital a recently donated ultrasound had started to make a significant change in the care given to future mothers. At Gabiley hospital, close to the Ethiopian border, the current drought has put pressure on scarce resources due to a massive influx of refugees and the full donation from Human Bridge had been put into action.

Jan Wandeby making a functional test of donated equipment together with hospital technicians at Berbera Hospital.

However, it was also evident that a careful assessment before each donation is necessary. Due to organizational weakness in general, and often in combination with lack of skilled staff, a donation always runs the risk to end up in a storage unused. Unfortunately this was the case at one of the hospitals. Measures have now been set into place to correct the situation, a fact that shows the importance of follow-up and dedicated monitoring. Each donation is a responsibility, not only for the receiver but also for the donator.

The delegation visited 10 hospitals in total (six in the capital Hargeisa, two in Berbera and one in Gabiley and Wajaale respectively. Out of these seven have received support from Human Bridge during the period 2014-2017. Anders Lygdman also revisited two hospitals that received their first medical equipment donations back in 2014.