Health and nutrition
On this page you will find links to stories related to the issues of Health and Nutrition in Somalia. Click below to read.
UNICEF nutritionist Irene explains her dedication to curing Somali children suffering from malnutrition
April 2017 - Irene Obare is a nutrition specialist for UNICEF Somalia who is Kenyan by nationality. She has been working in South Central Somalia for four months now, including in and around the town of Baidoa.
DFID £20 million contribution helps UNICEF save children and mothers' lives in drought emergency
8 April 2017 – With the generous contribution from DFID - UK Department for International Development - UNICEF has been able to respond to the drought emergency which has left 6.2 million people, half of the population, in need of humanitarian assistance
USAID Food for Peace helps UNICEF treat malnourished children with treatment
20 February 2017 - With nearly a million children expected to be suffering from acute malnutrition this year – UNICEF’s work has become critical.
Diarrhoea is preventable and easily treated but many families leave it too late
13 March 2017 - The ongoing drought in Somalia has focused the world’s attention on the possibility of another famine – but every year in Somalia, tens of thousands of children become seriously malnourished through an easily treatable illness – diarrhoea.
Little Munasar suffers as his family move to escape the drought
17 February 2017- As our plane approached the gravel landing strip in Beletweyene, in central Somalia, I could see dried up river beds, shrivelled shrubs and parched land. And all too soon we saw the terrible effect the drought is having on children here.
Severe drought kills animals and forces Somali families to flee
December, 2016 - Seventy-eight year old Mohammed Idle wearily gets down from a truck that brought him and his 16 emaciated cattle over 500 kilometres west from his home district in search of water. But it was too late for some of his animals.
Video: US$2 million ECHO funding helps UNICEF save tens of thousands of children from malnutrition in 2016
21 December 2016 - In 2016, ECHO – the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid department, contributed US$2 million towards UNICEF’s work in nutrition, WASH and child protection.
Community workers tackle child malnutrition at the grassroots
December 2016 – Village counsellors in Xidhinta village in west Somaliland have succeeded in a challenging task – to persuade mothers that the best way to ensure healthy babies is to only allow them breast milk in the first six months.
UNICEF health centre in Puntland sees spike in malnourished children due to drought
9 November 2016 - The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, Michael Keating, visited the UNICEF-supported Gambol Health Centre in Garowe, Puntland today where he met Puntland's Minister of Health, Dr. Abdinasir Osman Isse.
UNICEF joins mission to see life in a town under siege
September 2016 - UNICEF joined a joint mission with the WFP and representatives from the regional government (the Interim South West Administration) to the town of Dinsor region to investigate conditions over a year after the military left.
Children living in camps for those forced to flee their homes suffer from life threatening malnutrition
20 October 2016: Mohamed Aden Haji Omar, does not stop crying as he is carefully weighed at a Health Centre at Hamar Jabjab district, south Mogadishu. He is severely malnourished and has medical complications.
UNICEF saves the lives of 50,000 children this year thanks to EU humanitarian funding and other partners
October 2016 – Seven month old Abdirahmani Ahmed Ali crawls past the queue at the health centre at full speed with his teenage mother, Fowsiya proudly following after him behind.
Nutrition services give toddler Ibrahmi a new lease of life
August 2016: When two year old Ibrahmi Abdi became sick and listless, his mother Tukaay Yunyow became worried but didn’t know what to do. They lived in Busley camp for internally displaced people in South West Somalia where living conditions are poor.
Malnutrition rates among children in IDP camps have complex causes
April 2016 - Teenager Sabri had no time to enjoy her childhood – and now, at the age of just sixteen she is a single mother. She has lived nearly all her life in a camp for the internally displaced in Garowe, northern Somalia.
Free mother and child health services launched with UNICEF’s support in Jubaland, Somalia
11 February 2016 - The Somali authorities with support from UNICEF have launched the Essential Package of Health Services providing free maternal and child health and nutrition services for over a quarter of a million people.
Joint Measles and Birth Registration Campaign provides 100,000 Somali children with birth certificates
January 2016 – For the first time Somali families were given the chance to vaccinate their children against measles and register them for a birth certificate at the same time.
UNICEF and the Global Fund fighting malaria together
December 2015 - In a dim makeshift tent, in Bossaso town, northeast Somalia, three-year-old Ayub Hassan lies on the floor, shivering with a high fever and vomiting. For the last three days, he has been battling with malaria.
Nearly 56,000 Somali children still suffering from severe acute malnutrition
December 2015 - In Somalia today – and every day there are nearly 56,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition in need of urgent assistance mostly in the south and centre of the country.
Visiting Somalia’s displaced families – where the children suffer the most
December 2015 - With so much the world focused on war, terrorism and the plight of a seemingly endless stream of refugees, it is no surprise that Somalia has been forgotten.
School children spread the word about life saving vaccinations
November 2015 - One afternoon earlier this year the After School club at Arabsyo Gabilay primary school, Somaliland received three visitors keen to spread information about the importance of immunization.
Measles campaign launched in Somalia
15 November 2015 - The Somali authorities, with the support of UNICEF and WHO have launched a new measles campaign at the same time as a new polio vaccine – both aimed at saving the lives of Somali children.
Video: What does it take to End Polio for every child?
20 May 2015 - Somalia has been polio free for more than 9 months and UNICEF is supporting intensive Government efforts to keep it that way. Vaccination campaigns are ongoing to ensure no more children suffer from polio which can cause paralysis or death.
Published article: After Somalia's famine, hunger persists
1 May 2015 - At a hospital in Mogadishu's Yaqshid district, children suffering from severe acute malnutrition, worsened by stomach and chest infections, are receiving treatment that is likely saving their young lives.
Preventing and tackling child malnutrition close to home
April 2015 - One and half year old Ladan Mohamed Mahmoud gives a loud cry as he is placed in the spring scale with his legs dangling in the air. A health worker quickly notes down his weight before lifting him out and returning him to his mother.
A sachet of micronutrient powder a day boosts Somali children’s health and development
March 2015: Hasha Abdi Abdullahi was desperate. She was living in a makeshift camp for the displaced in Hargeisa with her seven children after being forced to leave her home, 50 kilometres away, because of drought.
Video: UNICEF works to save the lives of Somali mothers
16 February 2015 - For many Somali women – giving birth is a terrifying ordeal. Women usually given birth at home, without professional help, far from medical facilities that could save their lives.
A new maternity ward in Borama, Somaliland to help save the lives of mothers and their newborns
February 2015 - A new maternity wing at a hospital in Somaliland will mean that 130 mothers a month will be able to give birth more safely aided by health care professionals.
Japanese Government's support to Somali children
29 January 2015 - Somalia is one of the worst places in the world to be a child. One in every seven Somali children dies before their fifth birthday and tens of thousands are severely malnourished.
Communication for Development work on Polio in Puntland
January 2015 - In 2013 Somalia saw its first outbreak of polio in 6 years and a massive vaccination campaign followed mostly targeting children under five but also the under ten year olds and adults.
FAO, WHO & UNICEF join forces to fight against polio, measles and livestock diseases
17 December 2014 - Three UN agencies working in Somalia have combined efforts in a national vaccination campaign partly aimed at eradicating polio which causes lifelong paralysis or even death.
Somalia’s social mobilizers are key to the fight against polio
18 November 2014: Nearly two hundred people in Somalia – most of them children – have been affected by an outbreak of polio which began last year. However so far since 2014, there have been only five cases of polio, which causes paralysis and even death.
Agreement signed to decentralize health service delivery in Puntland
15 October 2014 – The Ministry of Health in Puntland has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Mayors of Bosasso, Garowe and Gardo Districts to decentralize health service delivery in Puntland.
New cold chain in Puntland to improve immunization services for children
10 October 2014 - UNICEF and the Puntland Ministry of Health inaugurated a brand new central cold chain and offices for the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI), which will help to ensure that children in the region receive lifesaving vaccinations.
UNICEF uses emergency airlifts to save the lives of children in areas unreachable by road
15 September 2014 - Amid a changing security situation in Somalia, UNICEF and other UN agencies are using all means possible to bring life-saving supplies to families cut off from the outside world for months or years.
UN agencies overcome hurdles to visit remote Somalia to investigate polio outbreak
August 2014 - UN agencies in Somalia combined forces once again to help a joint UNICEF and WHO team to visit a remote district of Puntland in north east Somalia where four people have contracted polio this year.
Toddler in northern Somalia is paralysed by polio – one of four new cases this year
16 July 2014 –Two and half year old Asha Mohamed sits in her mother’s lap, playfully hiding her face behind her hands. She used to follow her mother, Anod Abdi Hassan, all round the house until she contracted polio earlier this year.
Somali mother walks for three days to find treatment for her severely malnourished toddler
7 July 2014 - When 18-month -old son Muhudin Sharrif began losing weight, vomiting and suffering from diahorrea, his mother Halimo Madey tried the only treatment available in the remote area of south central Somalia where they live.
Child Health Days reinforce routine immunization in Somalia
1 July 2014 - Every year thousands of children in Somalia die needlessly from preventable diseases – and the annual World Immunization Week aims to put a stop to that with social mobilizers persuading mothers to bring their children to be vaccinated.
Combating malnutrition in Somaliland
19 March 2014 – When two year old Yusuf Hashi was admitted to the nutrition Stabilization Centre at Hargeisa Hospital, Somaliland, he weighed just over eight kilogrammes – half the weight of a healthy toddler.
In Somaliland, volunteer vaccinators help contain the threat of polio
18 December 2013 – In May 2013, the first case of polio seen in Somalia in more than six years was announced in Mogadishu. Plans for mass vaccination campaigns were drawn up.
Maternal and Child Health
December 2013 - In keeping with tradition most Somali women still give birth at home without any skilled personnel with them. However in Somaliland, this is slowly changing thanks to a a three-year-long programme co-funded by the European Commission.
World Aids Day marked by sports, performances and awareness raising meetings in Somalia
1 December 2013 - Events to commemorate World AIDS Day 2013 were convened all over Somalia including sports activities, performances by local traditional dancers and singers and official receptions focusing on awareness raising.
Upgrades in care save the lives of mothers and newborns in Somalia
29 November 2013 – Layla Darhir groans. Midwife Foosiya Omer quickly shifts her full attention to the 28-year-old, who has been in labour for six hours.
Historic Somali Joint Health and Nutrition Programme signed
November 2013 - The Somali health authorities, along with three UN agencies and development partners, have renewed their resolve to work together to improve the health of mothers and children and to strengthen the Somalia Health Care System.
A major campaign to stop the spread of polio
14 August 2013 – The mother of 3-year-old Mohamed Seef Naasir never realized the importance of vaccinating her children against polio until it was too late. The family lives hand-to -mouth in a makeshift shelter in a camp in the Somali capital Mogadishu.
Increasing numbers of children paralysed by polio in Somalia
9 July 2013 - Since the first tragic case of polio in Somalia for six years was discovered in the capital Mogadishu, nearly 50 children have suffered paralysis as a result of the virus. And that number is expected to rise.
Polio outbreak Response in Mogadishu
July 2013 - In May the first Polio outbreak in Somalia for 6 years was announced in Mogadishu. When it was found that two year old Najmo from Mogadishu had the wild polio virus, the Government, launched an emergency vaccination campaign.
Historic vaccine to save children's lives launched in Somalia
25 April 2013 - Six month old Abdul Wahab sleeps peacefully in his mother’s arms, unaware that that he has just become one of the first children in Somalia to be injected with the ground breaking, five- in- one Pentavalent vaccine.
Community-based approach addresses acute malnutrition in Somalia
12 February 2013 – The first year of Ubah Ismail’s life was difficult. At 5 months, she had pneumonia, followed by a severe intestinal upset that left her with diarrhoea for much of her sixth month.
UNICEF leads Child Health Days to stem the tide of preventable childhood diseases across Somalia
10 December 2012 – The journey to defeat the diseases that kill thousands of children every year in Somalia starts in the chilly light of dawn.
Months after famine conditions have ended, health centres across southern Somalia help children suffering from malnutrition
13 November 2012 – Ten-month-old Ifrah Mohamed Abdi was born as the first famine declared in more than 20 years in Africa held its grip on the village in which her family has lived for generations.
“My daughter died because I did not know about these things”: The tragic potential of poor hygiene in Somalia
GUGUH, Somaliland, 28 November 2011 - Amina, mother of seven, talks about how she came to know about the importance of hygiene practices.
Simple rules of hygiene help reduce malnutrition among Somali children
BOSSASO, Puntland, 28 Nov 2011 - Read about new initiative, supported by UNICEF, with UKaid funding, to improve basic hygiene and sanitation in Somalia’s family homes to reduce child illnesses and malnutrition.
Battling the effects of drought on Somali communities- Q&A with UNICEF Nutrition Specialist
1 November 2011 – Horn of Africa governments, the United Nations and aid agencies have all been battling one of the worst droughts in decades in the region. Zivai Mururi, nutrition specialist for UNICEF update on the situation in northern Somalia.
Efforts to promote exclusive breastfeeding in Somalia- Q&A with a trained counsellor
HARGEISA, Northwest Somalia “Somaliland”, 20 September 2011 - Kultan Hussein, Somali Red Crescent Society national health officer, is a trained counsellor advising mothers how to keep their young children healthy. She spoke to Mike Pflanz.
Travelling clinics to help children in Somalia’s remotest areas stay healthy
DALOW, Northwest Somalia “Somaliland”, 20 September 2011 – Mobile outpatient clinics provide life-saving treatment to severely malnourished children in remote areas in Somalia.
UNICEF and Japan support better health for vulnerable children and women
BURAO, Northwest Somalia "Somaliland", 13 January 2011 - In a country where basic health care is scarce, UNICEF supports a nation-wide network of primary health facilities with essential drugs and vaccines.
The champions of change at the frontline of the battle against childhood malnutrition
HARGEISA, Northwest Somalia “Somaliland”, 20 December 2010 - Halima Awali shushed the crowd of boisterous children gathered around her and said, “I was there to bring almost all of these babies into the world” ...
Medical middlemen catch childhood malnutrition before it becomes life-threatening
HARGEISA, Northwest Somalia “Somaliland”, 20 December 2010 – Salman Haji stood solemnly watching the man in the white coat searching papers spread across the table in the tin-walled hut open to the morning breeze...
Field diary: More efforts needed to help Somali families survive and thrive
BOSSASO and GAROWE, Somalia, 1 September 2010 - UNICEF Chief of the Child Survival Programme in Somalia Dr. Osamu Kunii recently visited the country’s semi-autonomous region of Puntland and filed the following first-hand report...
Field diary: In Somalia's Boroma district, Child Health Days campaign is making strides
Boroma district, Somalia, 17 June 2010 - Communication Officer Iman Morooka from the UNICEF Somalia Support Centre sends the following firsthand report from a visit to north-western Somalia’s Boroma district, near the border with Ethiopia.
In remote communities, Child Health Days bring life-saving services to Somali women and children
BOROMA, Somalia, June 2010 – Among the many mothers who came with their children to the Child Health Days campaign site, Abdi Ibrahim was one of very few fathers to be seen. He came early in the morning with his 16-month-old daughter, Sahra...
Amidst fighting, Somali children receive life-saving health services in Mogadishu
MOGADISHU, Somalia, February 2010: Despite fighting that has displaced hundreds of thousands of people here, a large-scale Child Health Days campaign has succeeded in reaching children and women with high-impact health services in the Somali capital...
UNICEF programme expanded to fight widespread undernutrition in Somalia
HARGEISA, Somalia, 8 December 2009: In Somalia, more than 40 per cent of children exhibit signs of chronic nutritional deprivation. This can be a life-threatening condition if appropriate interventions are not provided...
Child Health Days reach displaced communities in Somalia’s Afgoye Corridor
NAIROBI, Kenya, 24 November, 2009: For the first time ever, a Child Health Days campaign has reached displaced children and women in Somalia’s Afgoye Corridor, a 30 km stretch of road west of Mogadishu that is the world’s most densely populated...
Funding shortfalls may threaten critical humanitarian assistance in Somalia
NEW YORK, USA, 21 October 2009: UNICEF officials worry that funding shortfalls may threaten the humanitarian assistance activities that are urgently needed for roughly 3.6 million people in Somalia, including for 1.4 million affected by severe drought...
Second round of Child Health Days aims to boost child survival in Somalia.
GABILEY, Northwest Somalia, 3 September 2009: Building on the success of the six-month-long Child Health Days initiative that began late last year, UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) have kicked off the second round of a campaign...
UN report finds crisis in Somalia at its worst in two decades
NEW YORK, USA, 26 August 2009: A new report confirms a stark picture of the situation facing children and families in Somalia, where UNICEF has been stymied in its efforts to slow a surge in malnutrition in parts of the country most affected by...
UNICEF nutrition intervention in Somalia disrupted by looting
NEW YORK, USA, 13 August 2009: UNICEF has been forced to delay delivery of crucial nutritional supplies after looters targeted the warehouse of a UNICEF partner in the lower Juba region...
Life-saving nutrition interventions for vulnerable Somali children
EL-BERDE, Somalia, 24 June 2009: From early in the morning, the outpatient therapeutic centre (OTP) in El-Berde is crowded with women and their children seeking its services. The OTP is set up inside the town’s maternal and child health centre...
Somali Child Health Days go nationwide
April 2009: Child Health Days continue in various parts of Somalia with more children and women benefitting from health services...
Ready-to-use food distribution campaign for vulnerable children in Somalia
BOSSASO AND BERBERA, Somalia, 16 March 2009: At Buulo Mingis camp for the internally displaced people, located in Bossaso, northeast Somalia, children and their caregivers have gathered to receive rations of Plumpy’doz...
Child Health Days provide treatment in rural Somalia
January 2009: An account touching on Child Health Days and related information on beneficiaries from Northwest Somalia ("Somaliland') as a result of a campaign carried out in late 2008.
Food issues crucial as Somalia faces 'worst-case scenario'
August 2008: Malnutrition is one of the biggest challenges facing Somali children today, and according to an upcoming UN report, it could be getting worse...
Distributing a Life Saver - insecticide treated mosquito nets reduce child deaths in Somalia
November 2007: It was almost a year ago that Ahado Hassan lost her three year old daughter Hawa to malaria. She says she still dreams of her, laughing and playing in the water, and asks the doctor if it is normal for the mind to dream of those things...
UNICEF Provides Relief to Pregnant Mothers and Newborns in Somalia
November 2007: To look at her, you wouldn’t think that Amal and her newborn daughter came close to dying. But that’s exactly what happened when Amal, 18 and pregnant with her first child, braved scorching temperatures and traveled more than two days...
Volunteer-staffed health centre helps save lives in Baidoa, Somalia
October 2007: It didn’t take long for Hawa to notice that her sick, one-year-old son Saeed was not responding to traditional medicines. Her child was wasting away, his feet so bloated that it appeared they might burst. Hawa had to move quickly...
Nets help to fight malaria
March 2007: Somali people have known malaria for centuries, especially in the central and southern part of the country. In fact the Somali town of Buale is so named because of a condition associated with chronic malaria caused by an enlarged spleen...
Drought 2006 - Boy's long journey to treatment
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 Somalia to the Maternal and Child Health Clinic in Wajid town...