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Updated On: Sunday, November 19 2017

Somali Clinic Fights Malnutrition

Photo: UN Photo

Content by: South-South News

14 February 2013, New York USA | Connor Schratz - Despite significant progress in politics and security, Somalia continues to be plagued by poverty and one of its most devastating consequences: malnutrition. A lack of access to sufficient food sources causes enormous amounts of suffering across the Horn of Africa nation, with children bearing the brunt of the anguish.

 

To combat malnutrition in Somalia, the people of Burao, a small town in Somaliland, have come together to establish a clinic that brings much needed supplies to at risk children, and treats those already showing the signs of malnutrition.

"My baby fell sick and as a result she become malnourished," claims one mother who used the clinic. "When I brought her to the health center they put her under the therapeutic feeding program. Since she started eating the peanut paste, she has improved."

Supported by UNICEF and Medair, an NGO operating in Somalia, this Maternal and Child Health is helping those could otherwise be condemned to a life of illness or an early death were it not for treatment that can save their lives.

"We have treated 90% of the children in the community who were severely malnourished," reports Abdullahi Abdi, Medair's nutrition manager. "Many have improved and the number of children coming to us has reduced. We continue mobilizing them and we continue to reaching house by house and to teach them."

In addition to treating patients, the Burao health clinic also provides information to stop malnutrition before it starts. Nurses and midwives hold classes on basic infant nutrition, and explain the benefits of breastfeeding and its link to stopping malnutrition and stunting.

"Firstly, we tell the mothers to give breast milk to the baby for the first six months of the child's life and they should not give the baby any other food," explains Zeinab Aden, one such midwife. "The second thing, is how to hold the baby when breastfeeding. Thirdly, when the baby is over six months old you should start feeding him any other food and continue breast feeding him finally make sure all the black part of the mothers breast is placed on the child's mouth."

International observers hope that this integrated approach to tackling malnutrition will prove effective and that Somalia's children will no longer have to struggle with this terrible scourge.

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