Monday, October 11, 2004

EVERY NUMBER DENOTES A LIFE

Child mortality and morbidity poses a major threat to Somaliland as a country. Although there is no confirmed statistics to prove the statement, it is palpable for an insider who has been keeping track of the vital events in the community over a period of time. The planners, policy makers, international agencies still make use of the figures which has not been updated since long and has lost its relevance in the present context.

Everybody feels that genuine and updated records can help in better planning and monitoring but insufficient initiative from both government and non governmental agencies cripple the efforts put in for the proper programme initiation.

An inefficient management of statistics can risk missing of lives as it does to numbers for the significance of a number is not in itself but in the life that it denotes. An authentic data brings about a sense of accountability and conscientiousness in its various users. As a result of lack of proper data, earmarking of resources is difficult and that leads to exclusions. Service provision to the people is made difficult due to non demarcation of areas and the service provider being unaware of the number of people to be catered.

The major childhood killer diseases for the country are diarrhoea, respiratory infections, malaria and measles. Many regions of the country witnessed an outbreak of measles few months back which resulted in child deaths. It was quite difficult to quantify the children who were affected. Only those could be traced who came up to the health centres for availing the services. Quite a few might have gone unnoticed as they would not have been tracked due to the inefficient surveillance.

Although collection of data is a mammoth task and requires vast resources but it is essential for developing a system or base. Empowering community to record figures at the grassroots can help government and other agencies to collect and utilise the same for taking decisions for the benefit of the people.