Drought 2006 - Boy's long journey to treatment
By Denise Shepherd-Johnson
Wajid, February 2006 - Shubeb Frow Hussein is just six years old. Feverish and malnourished, he travelled 180 km with his father from their village in Baidoa in southern
Baidoa is one of the areas devastated by the current drought. It is an area that has always been impoverished but Shubeb’s situation is made worse by the drought.
For three consecutive seasons, the rains have failed to reach average levels leading to crop failure and loss of livestock. Some 1.4 million people reside in the most affected regions in
There, Shubeb was found to be anemic and his liver enlarged. An enlarged liver is a symptom of kwashiorkor: a serious syndrome caused by malnutrition which results in the weakening of a child’s body and metabolism. Kwashiorkor is also characterized by oedema, poor immune function and sometimes, even congestive heart failure.
Being undernourished is not unusual for many children in
At the clinic, Shubeb received basic health care to treat his diarrhea and fever. His family also received UNIMIX – a nutritious fortified flour to supplement the diet to help him recover fully.
Because malnourished children are at higher risk of disease, UNICEF is working with WHO to step up measles immunization and Vitamin A supplementation to prevent a major outbreak of this potentially life-threatening disease.
There are hundreds of children like Shubeb in southern
To reduce school absenteeism and dropout, UNICEF is also supporting the provision of water tanks to schools and the distribution of school tents and education kits.