NAIROBI, KENYA, 11 November 2009 - Somali children and women received a high-impact life-saving health package during the Child health Days Campaign in the Afgoye Corridor, a 30 kilometer stretch of road west of Mogadishu and the world’s most densely populated settlement for the displaced.
At least 46,000 children under-five and 37,000 women of child-bearing age benefited during the five-day campaign. Afgoye currently hosts over 524,000 displaced people driven out of their homes due to the conflict in Mogadishu and the south, who are enduring harsh living conditions and lacking even the most basic social services.
The Child Health Days Campaigns are implemented across Somalia with support from UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) in close collaboration with local authorities and NGO partners. In a country where routine immunization coverage is amongst the lowest in the world, the intervention aims to immunize every under-five child against measles, polio, diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus, in addition to provision of Vitamin A, de-worming tablets and nutritional screening for referral of malnourished children to feeding programmes. Women of child bearing age are immunized against neonatal tetanus. The Child Health Days package also includes oral rehydration salts to treat diarrhea and water purification tablets.
“Our joint success in implementing this large-scale outreach in the Afgoye area is a testament to how we can make a difference in Somalia even in the most difficult of circumstances.” said Ms. Rozanne Chorlton, UNICEF Representative to Somalia.
“Afgoye corridor is one of the locations in Somalia where humanitarian access is very challenging, but it is also where the impact of such an intervention is extremely critical due to the high density of population. Therefore bringing the Child Health Days to Afgoye was a key priority and thanks to the determination of communities and to UNICEF’s and WHO’s extended partnerships on the ground, vulnerable children and women were reached with crucial services.” said Ms. Rozanne Chorlton, UNICEF Representative to Somalia.
More than 200 vaccinators and 300 health workers implemented the campaign in Afgoye, making this large-scale programme possible despite poor infrastructure and lack of appropriate health facilities.
The Child Health Days were launched in Somalia in December 2008 reaching over one million children under five and 800,000 women across the country during the first round. The intervention is repeated every six months to help promote child survival and boost immunization rates, in addition to promoting demand for public health services among communities. The campaign has already contributed to improving immunization rates by achieving coverage of 60 to 80 per cent, while immunization rates in Somalia over the last ten years have been in the range of 20-30 per cent.
Broadcast quality footage available on demand. For information please contact:
Denise Shepherd-Johnson, UNICEF Somalia,
Tel +254 722719867
Iman Morooka, UNICEF Somalia,
Tel +254 714606733