Mobile clinics bring healthcare and nutrition services to communities

Reaching more than 50,000 children in remote communities this past year.

UNICEF Somalia
UNICEF Somalia/2019/Naftalin
12 January 2020

Dami is one of the most deprived neighborhoods in the city of Hargeisa, northeast Somalia. There are barely any roads, access to safe water is scarce and health services are hard to come by.

Mobile clinics, run by UNICEF and its partners, funded by EU Humanitarian Aid (ECHO), are changing this and bringing healthcare and nutrition services closer to vulnerable communities and the internally displaced living in Dami.

“When my son Anaas started coughing and became weaker, I got worried and decided to bring him here,” said Leila Mohamed, a mother of eight, at a clinic.

“He is my youngest and only 18 months old,” she explained. Leila lives in Dami with her family and the mobile clinic is the place where she brings her children when they get sick.

Health workers at the mobile clinic diagnose and treat common childhood illnesses; vaccinate children against measles, meningitis and other diseases; provide nutrition counselling and treatment; and distribute hygiene kits to families. They also teach community members about important health practices. This includes supporting and encouraging them to breastfeed and discussing good hygiene practices to prevent diseases.

 “When Anaas was brought in, he was very weak. He weighed only 1.7 kilograms and was clearly underweight,” said Ibrahim Abdillahi, one of the health workers. “He was severely malnourished, and we signed him up for treatment.

"We gave his mother advice on how to care for him at home as well as sachets of Ready-To-use-Therapeutic Food (RUTF) to start his treatment,” he added.

Anaas’ treatment included regular check-ups at the clinic. During these visits, he was weighed and checked. His mother also picked up more RUTF and continued to learn about simple practices, such as handwashing with soap, to combat malnutrition.

Anaas’ mother is happy and thankful for the life-saving healthcare and nutritional advice. “I appreciate getting these critical services here in my own community,” she said. With this support, I’m optimistic that Anaas will make a full recovery and smile and play soon again.”

In the past year, UNICEF supported mobile clinics have reached more than 50,000 children in Somalia. 12,000 of these children received nutritional services and medication.