Kahda,Mogadishu June 2019– A look of permanent worry is etched on the face of Roodo Issack, a mother of six, as she watches her last born twins silently suffering; their bodies emaciated and skin hanging from bare bones. As she sits outside her ramshackle shelter in Samadeeq village in Kahda district, she is on the brink of total despair. There is no money to take her babies to the hospital. Her husband is jobless. Their last remaining livestock died off during the last drought that hit their village hard.
A luck would have it, members of SAF-UK’s nutrition team have visited her village for regular screening sessions. While our team was screening children for malnutrition, they met Roodo. Her two youngest children who are twins, Muzamil & Mudathir, are severely malnourished, weighing 3.7kg respectively.
Roodo told the nutrition team that she had taken them to traditional healers in the past for treatment. They were the only treatment option she could afford. It helped them in the short-term, but their overall health did not improve. Our team referred her to the nearest SAF-UK center where Muzamil and Mudathir were enrolled in the Out-Patient Therapeutic Program (OTP) to receive treatment for undernutrition.
The team also visited Roodo Mohamed Issack’s home to assess for the underlying causes of malnutrition, such as poor feeding and hygiene practices. They found that the children’s mother, Roodo, was the primary caretaker while her husband did not work and stayed at home.
Our NHHP officers counseled Roodo on how diet diversity and good hygiene practices can prevent further malnutrition. She was also urged to be preparing seasonal vegetables like spinach, and gourds for her family, as well as staple foods like rice and wheat products. The twin’s nutritional status has improved thanks to Allah, the staff and the therapeutic foods, improved hygiene conditions, age-appropriate feeding, and a strengthened immune system.
“I cannot stop thanking SAF-UK and UNICEF for providing me with this support.It is just so good to see my twins getting well. The staff here are very nice. They have taught me a lot about health, nutrition and hygiene to keep my family healthy.”
Thousands of children living in the villages surrounding Mogadishu face a stark future due to malnutrition; more than half of them suffer from severe acute malnutrition. Due to the failure of the 2019 Gu’ (April-June) rains, following on from poor 2018 Deyr (October-December) rainfall, and unusually hot, dry conditions during the 2019 Jilaal (January-March), vulnerable families are facing harsh times largely as a result of crop failure and loss of livestock.
Thanks to funding from UNICEF, the SAF-UK nutrition project is providing innovative solutions to overcome malnutrition by addressing the underlying causes. Using an integrated approach and pooling resources and technical expertise, we continue to provide essential nutrition support for thousands of malnourished children, just like Muzamil and Mudathir.