Somaliland: Areas We Can Improve without Recognition
Often we heard the following oft-repeated, but empty, rhetoric from our politicians: “we cannot make improvements in many areas because we are not yet recognized or have no funding.” But there are many areas we can improve without recognition and with limited funds. Although areas we can improve abound, this short article attempts to shed light on few areas.
Somaliland’s traffic police have the ability to make outstanding improvements. These improvements will have two positive outcomes: first, it will generate revenue for the traffic police; and second, it will improve and enhance overall public safety. It is a win-win situation. They should effectively enact and enforce the following traffic laws:
1. They should erect traffic sings at the side of, or above, all main roads in Hargeisa to give instructions for drivers. These traffic sings include, but may not limited to, the following: parking signs; speed limit signs; direction; prohibitory signs; special regulations signs; danger warning sings; mandatory signs; priority signs; etc. Violators of these traffic signs should be fined according to the traffic sign. For instance, let us say, a traffic sign has the road speed limit of 48 kph. Any driver who exceeds should be fined. Or if a driver parks on a “no parking” area, he or she should also be fined.
2. They should have the mandate to issue driver’s licenses. Before issuing driver’s licenses, they should test potential drivers theoretically as well as practically. When testing drivers and issuing driver’s licenses, they should levy fees.
3. They should enact, or enfoce a minimum driving age—which is the age at which an individual can obtain a driver’s license. Let us say, anyone over fifteen (15) and anyone over eighty (80) years. Any driver younger than eighteen or older than eighty should be fined
These fines and fees for tests and driver’s licenses will generate revenues for the traffic police. In addition, it will make drivers adhere to the existing traffic laws which, as a result, will improve and enhance public safety. If the revenues are managed properly, the traffic police will then increase the salary of its officers and it will also acquire traffic cars, walkie-talkies, computers, etc. These improvements require neither recognition nor huge funding.
Police National Database
Currently, our police stations utilize the outdated “Occurrence Book” (OB) to record the information of the arrestees; such as, their names, ages, arrest day, nature of the crime, etc. The OB contains thousands of names of offenders/criminals. It is almost impossible to retrieve specifically the names of the repeat offenders; that is, if someone commits a crime several times, our police are unable to retrieve prior arrest records of the offender. For instance, let us say that a young man commits a robbery and he is arrested at the same police station on 05 November, 2018; 29 February, 2019; 01 March, 2019; and again 20 March, 2019. Unless the police recognize the robber, it is impossible for the police to know that the young man commits the same crime many times. If a single police station is unable to do so, how about when the offender commits similar crime at different locations in Hargeisa, or worst in other cities like Burao, Borama, Berbera, Las-anod, etc. This consumes not only the police’s limited resources, but it also creates a safe haven for repeat offenders and criminals.
Our police can make the following improvements:
1. They need to acquire simple desk-top computers, database software, finger printing machines, etc. The aforesaid equipment could easily be obtained with cheaper prices or for free. When an offender is finger-printed and his information is entered into a computer, it is easy to retrieve his prior arrest record. This will help the police and the court to punish the repeat offenders which will contribute to the overall public safety. It will also help police to use its resource effectively.
2. They need to hire university-graduated students to perform the aforesaid duties since graduates are savvy. This will have many benefits: it will reduce the current unemployment rate and it will also encourage university student focus on their studies since they realize that they would be employed. This improvement can be easily accomplished without recognition or funding.
Somaliland Medical Association
Currently, our healthcare system is in shatters. There are countless medical charlatans (or fake doctors); imported and unregulated medications; and skyrocketed unregulated clinics and pharmacies. To contain, control and improve our devastated healthcare system, it is high time to create Somaliland Medical Association (SMA). The SMA will consist professional and independent medical team and will have the required knowledge and expertise to monitor and set standards for healthcare system. To do so, the National Health Professional Commission should outsource its mandate of overseeing healthcare system to SMA. The SMA shall:
1. Have the mandate to issue and revoke licenses. Currently, there are countless medical charlatans (fake medical professionals) operating in Somaliland. Therefore, in order to contain these medical charlatans, the SMA shall reexamine all existing medical professionals and have the mandate to issue, renew, and revoke any medical licenses.
2. Set standards for imported medications. Currently, our imported medications are unregulated. The businesspeople import fake, expired, and ineffective medications. Therefore, the SMA will have the mandate to oversee all imported medications; that is, it will act as a quality control agency for imported medical and health related items.
3. Set standards for medical schools and internship programs. Currently, there are countless ineffective universities “medical departments.” The SMA will have the mandate to oversee these departments and shall revoke the license of any department that fail to meet the SMA standards.
4. Set standards for spiritual healers. Currently, there are numerous spiritual healers throughout the country. Majority, if not all, of these spiritual healers run healing centers while they are not medically trained. The SMA will have the mandate to assess, examine, and set standards for these spiritual healers.
If SMA is created and is permitted independently to oversee the aforesaid, and many other, aspects of our healthcare system, it will improve and enhance our healthcare system.
Improving these areas require neither recognition nor huge fund.
“If there is a will,” the old adage goes, “there is a way.”
Abdi Hussein Daud
He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org