Background and Justification of the Institute

National Institute of Health Background 

The National Institute of Health (NIH) Somalia is parastatal governmental public health Institution that is a legal body and shall have financial, administrative, and technical independence, as well as the legal eligibility to proceed with all the actions and works that ensure achieving its mandate. The legitimacy and guidelines of the institute shall be in accordance to the structure of other federal government institutions in Somalia. NIH will focus on the national public health issues whereby the data generated will be used for tracking health risks, identifying emerging problems, improving treatment, and evaluating programs. Therefore, the institute will provide evidence based advice to the Ministry of Health and Human Services (MOH&HS) and also to the Regional Authorities responsible for health and it will also act as the national reference laboratory for infectious diseases. 

Justification of the Institute 
The two decades of turmoil in Somalia had negatively impacted on the health care system in the country. Firstly, due to profound brain-drain of country’s limited qualified health professionals, and secondly, the collapse of health institutions including teaching and research institutions as well as hospitals and other important public health institutions. As a result, the FMOH of Somalia reserved no efforts to rebuild national health system that is capable in delivering effective and efficient health services. Yet, due to shortage of qualified human resources, and absence of key health institutions, the Somalia’s health care system had faced a considerable inadequacy.

The success of rebuilding a sustainable health system in Somalia is dependent on the availability of evidence based national health information that guides the MOH&HS and other stakeholders in identifying priorities, adopting an evidence based national health policy and subsequently making decisions to improve the country’s health care system. In most nations, such evidence based information is supplied to the MOH&HS by equivalent institutions developed for this specific public health purpose.

Nonetheless, establishing such a demanding institution in Somalia requires the presence of highly qualified health personnel with the capability to develop and implement advanced and innovative public health projects and research. After seeing the absence of such an important institution in Somalia, the establishment of the NIH under the MOH&HS was envisaged with the cooperation and coordination of the national and international partners with the idea of strengthening the FMOH’s capability to develop a more effective and sustainable health care system in the country.