Somalia, Save the Children, + 300% children treated for severe malnutrition
The number of children in Somalia receiving treatment for the most dangerous form of malnutrition increased by 300% in the first six months of 2022 at a Save the Children’s clinic,International organization which for over 100 years has fought to save girls and boys and secure them a future while the country is hit by the worst drought of recent years. In June, doctors from a children’s health facility of Baidoa, in southwestern Somalia, run by Save the Children, treated a record number of 471 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition with other medical complications. Four times as many patients as in January.
Doctors said they were witnessing on their own how climate change is fueling a catastrophic famine crisis. “We face many new challenges compared to two or three months ago. We do not have enough beds, there are not enough rooms and the staff work overtime. They are pushing us to the limit, ”said the doctor Farhiyo Mohamud Abdirahman who has been treating malnourished children at Save the Children’s Stabilization Center in Baidoa for more than two years and now regularly works to cope with the rising patient population.
In the Horn of Africa, a fifth dry season is expected after four consecutive seasons without rain. To exacerbate the crisis, also the rise in food prices due to the war in Ukraine and the economic outcome of the Covid-19 pandemic. At least 18.5 million people in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya have been hit by the drought that began in October 2020. Somalia is now on the brink of famine and there are fears of a repeat of the tragedy in 2011 that killed 260,000 people. were children under five years of age.
In the first half of 2022, Dr. Farhiyo Mohamud Abdirahman and his team 1,435 children for severe acute malnutrition, about 25% more patients than in the whole of 2021. Recently, the health center had to install two in the yard. to cope with the increased demand for malnutrition. While the drought continues to devastate large areas of the country, the number of children dying of malnutrition is increasing. The Stabilization Center recorded 18 deaths in June, more than double the number in May and the highest number in the last 12 months. Nearly 90% more children died of malnutrition at the health center in the first six months of 2022 compared to the same period last year.
Somalia is facing one of the most serious emergencies during the worst global famine crisis of this century and urgent action is needed to prevent a recurrence of the disaster in 2011. However, only 30% of a UN call has been funded . $ 1.5 billion to fight the crisis in Somalia. “We live in a world where we know how to prevent extreme hunger, yet hundreds of thousands of people continue to die from lack of food. Today, it is a political choice to allow hunger in the world. For millions of children in Somalia and the Horn of Africa, time is running out. We have already seen the deadly consequences of drought for children, we can not wait any longer to act. In some of the most affected areas of Somalia, our health clinics see four times more severely malnourished children than just six months ago, and the death rate is rising, ”said Mohamud Mohamed Hassan, director of Save the Children Somalia.
Timely international intervention during the severe drought of 2017 prevented a recurrence of the disaster in 2011. According to forecasts by humanitarian agencies, without emergency funds and without action lasting To address climate change and its impact, this year’s drought in Somalia could be even more devastating than the famine ten years ago. The last famine officially declared globally was in some areas of South Sudan in 2017.
At least 1.5 million children under the age of five are severely malnourished in Somalia, and more than 385,000 are at risk of dying without immediate treatment. “When I started working here, there were very few cases of severe malnutrition. Now severely malnourished children come to the clinic every day. And they have more complications and more diseases than before, ”he continued Farhiyo Mohamud Abdirahman. Malnourished children are more susceptible to infections and other diseases – such as measles, pneumonia and cholera – which put their health at even more risk.
As most of Somalia is struggling with severe drought, displacement and poverty have become widespread across the country. Hundreds of thousands of people like Casho have been forced to flee their homes in search of food, clean water and medical care, but hunger is a daily reality even in displacement camps. Save the Children works to help affected communities Somalia to cope with the immediate humanitarian effects of the drought. The organization provides emergency water supplies, treats malnourished children, supports education systems so children do not miss the opportunity to study while displaced by drought, manages health facilities, and provides money and livelihood support to the most vulnerable.
(Rak / AdnKronos)