October 17, 2012 – Although famine conditions have officially lifted in Somalia, many areas in the Horn of Africa are still extremely food-stressed with 13.3 million in need of emergency assistance in the region. Since July 2011, International Medical Corps has been delivering a comprehensive health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene response. We are also prioritizing training and education programs to build resilience in drought-prone communities.
Since famine conditions were officially declared, International Medical Corps has been responding throughout Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, implementing programs including:
- community-based management of acute malnutrition to treat severe and moderate acute malnutrition in children under five
- nutrition interventions for pregnant and lactating women including the provision of micronutrient supplementation
- malnutrition prevention through blanket supplementary feeding of children under five and pregnant and lactating women
- addressing the underlying causes of malnutrition including support groups for mothers and infant and young child feeding activities
- building latrines, rehabilitating wells and boreholes and installing rainwater harvesting systems to ensure clean water, sanitation and hygiene – all critical to ensuring nutritional health
- water, sanitation and hygiene awareness campaigns
- training for local health workers to ensure sustainable solutions
SOMALIA –International Medical Corps continues to operate emergency community-based nutrition programs in Sool and Sanaag regions of Somaliland, where the conflict in the North continues to affect movement of the population as well as trade activities. Additionally International Medical Corps operates emergency community-based nutrition programs in Galgaduud region; health programs in Mogadishu; and water, sanitation and hygiene programs in Mogadishu and Galgaduud region. These nutrition programs treat both severely and moderately acutely malnourished children under five and pregnant and lactating women. We also provide micronutrient supplementation for pregnant and nursing women. In 2012 in Sool and Sanaag regions, we screened 17,658 children, admitted 1,943 children to our outpatient therapy sites, and admitted 330 children to our targeted supplementary feeding program.
ETHIOPIA - International Medical Corps provides relief to tens of thousands of affected persons in the Dolo Ado area in Ethiopia, where more than 170,000 Somalis are seeking refuge. International Medical Corps is providing both blanket and supplementary feeding programs as well as outpatient therapeutic programs, allowing us to deliver targeted care for those who are malnourished, and also protect those who are at-risk by giving them basic food items. We are also building latrines and hand-washing stations, distributing soap and jerry cans, and educating communities on the importance of hygiene. Because displacement and camp conditions can increase the exposure of women and girls to sexual violence, International Medical Corps is working to prevent and respond to cases of gender-based violence by training community members and establishing a referral and case management system.
KENYA - In the Dadaab complex in Kenya, home to 443,000 Somali refugees, security incidents have severely restricted response measures to only lifesaving interventions. The Government of Kenya and international actors continue to press for solutions to improve the security and service delivery. International Medical Corps is operating a health post in Kambioos camp in Dadaab where we have immunized 872 children for measles, ensured access to primary health care for 27,067 patients and admitted more than 3,100 children to our nutrition programs.
In Samburu, Isiolo, Tana River, Meru North and Laikipia districts, International Medical Corps has been working in partnership with UNICEF and OFDA to deliver high-impact nutrition interventions in existing health facilities and at the community level. Through this partnership, we provide outpatient therapeutic care services for severe acute malnourished children under 5 years of age, as well as supplementary feeding services for moderate acute malnourished children under 5 and pregnant or nursing women. We also utilize the Mother Care Group model in Samburu, where 1,200 such groups have formed and training is ongoing.
Since its inception nearly 30 years ago, International Medical Corps’ mission has been consistent: relieve the suffering of those impacted by war, natural disaster and disease, by delivering vital health care services that focus on training. This approach of helping people help themselves is critical to returning devastated populations to self-reliance.