Swisso Kalmo: Provision of secondary health services at Merka Hospital, Somalia

Project completed

Lower Shabelle in South Central Somalia is highly affected by the ongoing conflict and insecurity in Somalia. Only a small number of service providers are able to operate and access people in need, including internally displaced women, men and children. Switzerland's contribution to Merka hospital, run by Swisso Kalmo (SK), is critical to ensure that the population of Lower Shabelle (900'000) has access to life saving health services provided by trained medical personnel.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Infectious desease
Health systems strengthening
Primary health care
01.05.2016 - 31.05.2017
CHF  520’000

Continued conflict and increased fragility in Somalia over the past two decades have resulted in the collapse of the public health system and put a subsequent focus on emergency response interventions. Despite ongoing efforts to rebuild the health system and to enhance the capacities of the health authorities to manage the sector, health facilities remain few, inadequately equipped, and with limited operational capacity. While development efforts in the health sector mainly focus on expanding the coverage of primary health care services across Somalia, hospitals and secondary health care providers struggle to mobilize the necessary funds to operate and are faced with an immediate risk of having to close down. Merka, in Lower Shabelle, is one of the least developed districts in Somalia, with one of the worst health situation in terms of health indicators. Under AI-Shabaab control until August 2012, insecurity remains high and access for international organizations very limited. Merka hospital, run by Swisso Kalmo since January 2014, is currently the only secondary health care facility in Merka district.


To contribute to improve the health situation of the population of Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Target groups

The intervention will directly benefit the population living in Merka town and its surroundings (230'100 inhabitants), including internally displaced people from neighbouring villages (displaced by the ongoing conflict in the region).

It will also benefit the overall population of Lower Shabelle (900'000).

Medium-term outcomes

The population of Lower Shabelle has improved access to quality health services.


Expected results:  

  • Improved maternal and child health through provision of quality antenatal/postnatal services in Merka hospital;
  • Improved access to high quality emergency lifesaving surgical and medical health care service through facility rehabilitation and provision of adequate supplies at the emergency/casualty department;
  • Improved prevention and control of communicable diseases through treatment and surveillance;
  • Improved capacity and skills of medical staff through training and clinical tutoring.

Results from previous phases:  

This is the first phase for SDC. There is only little health information/statistics for Somalia and no solid data for Merka available. Exploring ways of getting data for the area will be part of the first phase.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Humanitarian aid
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
Private sector
  • Other international or foreign NGO North
  • Foreign private sector North

Coordination with other projects and actors

The partner is working closely with the Ministry of Health of the Federal Government of Somalia. SK attends the health cluster meetings both at the national and regional levels and is the focal point for the health and nutrition clusters in Lower Shabelle. The project is in line with the Health Sector Strategic Plans for Somalia (2012-2016) aiming at providing secondary health care to the Somali people. Support to SK complements SDC's engagement in the health sector including contribution to the ICRC, Islamic Relief and the UN Joint Health and Nutrition Program.

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    520’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    400’000 Total project since first phase Budget inclusive project partner CHF   750’000
Project phases

Phase 1 01.05.2016 - 31.05.2017   (Completed)