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No end in sight to Somalia’s drought-crisis

August 2017 - As the prolonged drought in Somalia continues to cause widespread suffering, illness and death, nutrition programmes supported by UNICEF and partners have successfully treated over 130,000 children suffering from life-threatening malnutrition.

The drought has left thousands of children weak due to lack of food and susceptible to the fast-spreading waterborne diseases such as diarrhoea and vomiting, which drain the body of nutrients and can lead to dehydration and severe acute malnutrition (SAM).

UNICEF is supporting more than 750 outpatient nutrition centres both fixed and mobile, and over 40 inpatient wards known as Stabilization Centres across Somalia. The number of children treated this year is already more than the total number treated during 2016.

UNICEF Somalia/2017/Holt
© UNICEF Somalia/2017/Holt

The majority of children are treated as outpatients at health centres with their caregiver being given a supply of therapeutic peanut paste. Children with other complications such as fever, malaria or other illnesses are admitted to stabilisation centres, specialist wards usually located in hospitals. Nearly 93 per cent of the children treated make a good recovery.

Recent surveys conducted in some of the worst-affected areas are showing increasing numbers of children with acute malnutrition, suggesting a further deterioration in the food and nutrition situation. Following the below-average performance of Gu rains in April , the situation is expected to continue to worsen through 2017 and early 2018. UNICEF and partners, including the World Food Programme, continue to scale up the nutrition response and implement programmes to strengthen resilience in affected communities.

© UNICEF Somalia/2017/Holt

UNICEF and partners have scaled up massively in response to the drought in 2017 and aim to reach an estimated 277,000 children projected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition. UNICEF is working to extend the reach of both facility-based and mobile nutrition, water, sanitation and health services, and has teams in the hardest hit areas, working with local authorities, partners and communities to treat and prevent malnutrition and Acute Watery Diarrhoea /cholera.

 

 
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