Nutrition and health support for children

Mother and child seeking health care. WHO.

Somalia | 2023 | CERF

Somalia. In Somalia, drought and hunger continue to affect 7.8 million people. Over 1.9 million people have left their homes in search of food, water, and livelihoods.

Some 1.8 million young children are at risk of severe malnutrition and related health complications. That is over half the children in the country – and over half a million already qualify as severely malnourished.

With funding from Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the WHO is providing essential lifesaving health care services in 31 hard-hit districts across the country.

“CERF funding has certainly helped us keep morbidity and mortality to a minimum, but with …increased displacement….our planned targets are becoming bigger by the day because of the increased demand both at health facilities and outreach sites across the country,” said WHO’s Khalid El-Tahir, who is leading drought response activities.

“It’s time that the world should open up their coffers to help Somali people cope with one of the worst droughts in more than a decade,” he added.

Since July 2022, WHO has used CERF funding as a catalyst to spearhead health interventions, reaching over 720,000 people with emergency health care services. CERF funds have been used to buy and distribute essential medical lifesaving equipment, medicines, and supplies to 57 health facilities, including support to 7 laboratories with essential items for timely disease testing and tracking.

Under the ongoing CERF-funded interventions, WHO has deployed vaccinators and community health workers across 31 drought-affected districts and have reached over 7 million at-risk people with preventive health interventions, including basic vaccinations for children, and Vitamin and nutrition supplementation for children at risk of malnutrition.

Such support is critical.

“If the situation is not addressed the future of Somali children is jeopardized as stunting in children is associated with an increased risk of mortality, [and] reduced cognitive development,” warned WHO Somalia’s Health Operation Manager, Simon Kaddu Ssentamu.

Original story (World Health Organization).

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