Dennis has sent through another update as they’ve made it to a new town near the Somali border:
I have arrived in Wajri, a Kenyan town near the Somali border. Overnight torrential rain fell in what could only be described as a waterfall and flooded the streets. The rain also fell in Dadaab, home to half a million refugees. This rain is a mixed blessing: it is critical for the recovery to begin (providing drink for livestock and water for crops), but it brings another threat: malaria, cholera, and other waterborne diseases which can be fatal to children already weakened by malnutrition.
When I spoke with the medical staff at Wajri hospital, they expressed deep concern at the demands that will be placed on their limited capacity, as they’re already stretched coping with child malnutrition, dehydration, and snake bites.
At the hospital, I met Nuria a 4 month old girl. Nuria weighs only 3.5 kilos; she is desperately malnourished. Although still a baby, Nuria had not been breastfed as her mother did not know that breastmilk is the best nutrition for her daughter. Nuria’s mother sadly shared her family’s story, talking of the loss of their camels to the drought. This was not only a loss of their milk source, but also a loss of their livelihood. With no milk, Nuria had no nourishment and was wasting away. In desperation, Nuria was taken to hospital.
Here, the medical staff are caring for Nuria with therapeutic milk. This special nutrient-packed milk is ensuring that Nuria is gaining weight and strength. With this simple and effective treatment, Nuria is recovering well and will be able to leave the hospital in about a week. The staff will give Nuria’s mother a month’s supply of therapeutic food, provided by UNICEF, to ensure her full recovery. Soon, she will be fully well again.
As well as providing therapeutic food for children, UNICEF is encouraging mothers in the Horn of Africa to breastfeed their babies exclusively for the child’s first six months of life. With UNICEF support, community health workers and mother-to-mother support groups in the refugee camps are promoting the benefits of breastfeeding, and so helping prevent child malnutrition.
Your donations are saving the lives of children like Nuria.
UNICEF is making a fantastic impact on the ground, to donate please click here.