Drought & Famine Emergency Response
As the number of Somalis in need of emergency humanitarian assistance due to the drought and ensuing famine has increased by 50 percent since April 2011, International Medical Corps is preparing to address emergency nutrition and WASH needs in Central Somalia and addressing nutrition needs in Somaliland. Through funding from OFDA, we will roll out nutrition and WASH resources for drought-affected communities in Abudwak district of Galgaduud region. The program will work to mitigate the effects of the current drought as well as strengthen the capacity of the local population to more effectively deal with disasters in the future. Our local team will focus on managing severe and moderate acute malnutrition, implementing nutrition education and behavior change as well as improving water supply and sanitation. In addition, we will train local hygiene workers to promote healthy hygiene practices like hand washing and household water treatment campaigns. In Somaliland, International Medical Corps with support from UNICEF is implementing an emergency nutrition program in Sool and Sanaag regions to mitigate the effects of drought and improve the nutrition status of children under the age of 5.
Primary Health Care
Despite insurgent activities and generally unsettled security conditions in south central Somalia, International Medical Corps provided essential and emergency health care services, emergency obstetrics care and nutritional rehabilitation to a target population of 115,000 living mainly in the Beletweyne District of Hiraan Region and the Elberde District of neighboring Bakool Region. The population included more than 20,000 children under five years, nearly a quarter of whom were severely malnourished. About 4,600 pregnant women were also part of the target population. Three mother-child clinics operated in the regions by International Medical Corps treated thousands of young children and expectant mothers annually. The program was funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, DFID.
In Sanaag in Somaliland, International Medical Corps rehabilitated three Mother Child Health facilities, trained 25 Traditional Birth Attendants on safe motherhood practices and referral to health facilities and provided ante-natal and post-natal consultations and support to over 1000 pregnant women. Immunization services were provided to children under five. This support, aimed at improving access to quality maternal and child health care for vulnerable populations, was supported by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office, ECHO.
Water and Sanitation
In order to increase access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene services in Sanaag in Somaliland, International Medical Corps rehabilitated 16 berkads (traditional water reservoirs) and protected 6 shallow wells. Local populations were supported to establish 20 water and sanitation committees at community level, which then received training from International Medical Corps on areas such as environmental, water, food, and personal hygiene, the importance of using soap for handwashing, as well as water source/point management and maintenance. 5 communal waste management pits were dug with assistance from the community to serve an estimated population of 4,810. This program was supported by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office, ECHO.
Despite arduous conditions in south central Somalia, including fighting between insurgent and Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces, International Medical Corps operated an emergency feeding program as part of its primary health care activities in the area. The Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) program supported both out-patient therapeutic feeding (OTP) and supplementary feeding (SFP) centers that served a target population of about 115,000 in the Beletweyne District of Hiraan Region and the Elberde District of neighboring Bakool Region. That population included over 20,000 children under five, nearly a quarter of whom were severely malnourished.
The program was supported by UNICEF, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, DFID and the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office, ECHO.
Post Harvest Storage
International Medical Corps worked with about 1,400 households in Bakool and Hiraan regions to boost both seed and grain harvest storage protection through the use of metal silos. In Somalia’s harsh climate conditions an estimated 20-30% of harvested grain is lost before it is sold or consumed because it is stored in vulnerable areas, usually in underground pits. Most of the loss is caused by rodents, insects and fungi, all of which thrive in the hot, humid climate conditions. In recent years, metal containers, including recycled oil drums, have been used as a low-cost solution to the storage problem. Transitioned to Somaliland in September 2010, the program was funded by the U.S. government’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, OFDA.
Nutrition in Somaliland
In Somaliland, International Medical Corps with support from UNICEF is implementing an emergency nutrition program in Sool and Sanaag regions to mitigate the effects of drought and improve the nutrition status of children under the age of five. Our local teams reach severely malnourished children with lifesaving nutrition interventions and pregnant and lactating mothers with micronutrient supplementation tablets. The program also includes health and nutrition education including emphasizing the importance of breastfeeding and healthy hygiene and sanitation practices.
As part of the program in Somaliland, International Medical Corps teams delivered nutrition supplies including ready-to-use foods and nutrition equipment such as height boards and weighing scales for local health centers. Trainings were also conducted for Ministry of Health staff on community mobilization, nutrition screening, micronutrient supplementation, vaccination and referrals. In addition, 20 community health workers were trained on management of acute malnutrition and identification and referral of severe acute malnutrition; 12 community nutrition workers trained on community management of acute malnutrition; and 12 health care providers and volunteers trained on provision of nutrition education. As a result, International Medical Corps-supported Outpatient Therapy sites screened a total 5,761 children for malnutrition in the region.
*International Medical Corps’ nutrition work in Sanaag was previously supported by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office, ECHO. The current UNICEF-supported nutrition project in Somaliland will end in September 2011.