Saving children in the Horn of Africa
Following the worst drought in 50 years, the clock is now ticking for weak and starving children across East Africa. The famine is spreading and there are five areas in Southern Somalia which have now been declared in famine.
Right now, a child is dying of hunger in Somalia every six minutes. And unless we do something about it, children are going to carry on dying. It’s simple. Children are hungry. We’re not. They have no food. We do. So it’s time to share what we have to save lives. Just R60 could provide a child with life-saving food for a week.
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Elijah is an 11 month old baby boy with acute malnutrition. He was admitted into hospital 10 weeks ago with a severe case of malaria and measles. Elijah was critically ill and suffered dramatic weight loss. He spent one month in Kenyata Hospital – where the most serious cases are treated.
When he returned home from hospital his mother tried very hard to help him gain weight. He weighed just over 4 kgs at the age of 9.5 months – the average healthy weight for a baby that age is between 7.5 and 11 kilograms.
His mother was desperately worried about Elijah and said, ‘’I was so worried, I thought my baby was going to pass.’’
The Provide Clinic in Korogocho, where Elijah and his mother live, sends Community Health Workers out into the community. They do door-to-door visits and this is how Caroline – a Community Health Worker – came across Elijah.
When he was admitted to the clinic 6 weeks ago, he weighed 4.5 kgs. He was immediately started on the Plumpynut Programme. Six weeks after starting the course, Elijah now weighs 5.2 kgs.
Plumpynut is a peanut-based paste used to treat severe acute malnutrition. The amount prescribed is calculated depending on the child’s age and weight; and can be between 18-21 sachets. Elijah’s mother was given a week’s supply, enough for him to have 2.5 sachets a day.
Sadly, many babies in Korogocho do not always get their full course of Plumpynut as the food is often sold for money. Therefore, the Provide Clinic requests that all parents bring back the empty Plumpynut sachets in order to qualify for the next dose.
It’s Elijah’s 1st birthday in four weeks’ time and when asked if they would celebrate, his mother gave a hopeful smile and said, ‘’we will try to have a celebration, and if we can afford to I will cook chapattis and chicken.’’
By donating R60 you can help UNICEF provide Plumpynut for a child for one week.
WHAT UNICEF IS DOING
UNICEF is the biggest provider of life-saving food for children in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti but need more funds urgently to reach children in the worst affected regions as quickly as possible to prevent more children from dying. We have increased humanitarian assistance and are helping treat acutely malnourished children through therapeutic feeding programmes, gaining access to clean drinking water through repair of pumping stations, digging boreholes, chlorination of water sources and water trucking, and continuing vital health activities like immunisation.
UNICEF needs funds to make sure children across East Africa get the food, clean water and healthcare they need to survive.
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