Every child has the right to survive and thrive
Malnutrition persists in Somalia due to years of conflict, the collapse of basic social services and the erosion of resilience over time. In 2018, more than 1.2 million children suffered from malnutrition.
Many Somali children are not getting enough food, both in terms of quantity and variety. High number of these children and their mothers suffer from anaemia and vitamin A deficiency. They are also more susceptible to infectious diseases and at risk of developing severe acute malnutrition – dangerously low weight and severe muscle wasting. When acute malnutrition becomes severe, children can die. Globally, 45 percent of all child deaths are associated with malnutrition.
The ongoing conflict as well as reoccurring droughts and floods trigger food insecurity in Somalia. Children living in emergency contexts are extremely vulnerable and at high risk of becoming severely malnourished.
Malnutrition links directly to infant and young child feeding and hygiene practices.
If a pregnant woman is malnourished, the child is more likely to be born underweight, making her or him susceptible to infections, malnutrition, and even death.
We seek to empower communities and strengthen systems to prevent malnutrition before it occurs. We work with the Government of Somalia and partners to implement solutions to address malnutrition in the country. Solutions implemented during the first 1,000 days - from the start of a woman’s pregnancy to a child’s second birthday – are critical.
These solutions include:
- Ensuring access to quality health care for pregnant women;
- Proving micronutrient supplements and vitamins (iron, zinc, vitamin A) to pregnant women and young children;
- Promoting and supporting exclusive breastfeeding for infants under 6 months of age;
- Educating mothers on how to adequately feed their children;
- Ensuring children access treatment for diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia;
- Providing access to clean water and sanitation
To mitigate and manage nutrition related shocks, we work with the Government and partners to plan and deliver key nutrition interventions as part of the emergency response. These include providing therapeutic foods to treat acute malnutrition and micronutrients to tackle deficiencies, as well as counselling to encourage families to adopt practical nutrition and health practices at home.