September 15 2011

SOS Children's Villages expands programme to address worsening crisis in Somalia

15/09/2011 - To contain an outbreak of measles, an increase in cases of Acute Watery Diarrhoea and other diseases, staff at the SOS Emergency Health Centre in the Somali capital Mogadishu are facing a race against time.

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The numbers of children in urgent need of help are rising - Photo: Jens Honoré
Additional medical teams are being recruited and trained while funding is primarily directed towards the treatment of acute malnutrition in children under five.

Resources are stretched, as SOS staff also prepare for the imminent opening of outpatient feeding programmes at Badbado Camp near the capital, Baidoa (central Somalia) and at the long established SOS Hospital in Mogadishu. 

In one month alone, they administered lifesaving treatment to approximately 6,000 patients in  Badbado. In Baidoa, over 200km away, within a four day period, over a thousand patients were admitted to SOS Children's Villages' newly opened facility. As in the capital, one third of those treated were under five years-old.   

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Cramped conditions in the camps are a serious health threat - Photo: SOS Archives
Camps, set up to cater for the hundreds of thousands of Somalis displaced in their homeland have been overwhelmed. The ever increasing number of people arriving at the 188 settlements in Mogadishu is a source of worry to our medical experts. With the advent of the rainy season they foresee potential for an outbreak of Cholera and Malaria as cramped unhygienic conditions are very likely to exacerbate matters. In an effort to contain the problem SOS staff are co-operating with camp managers. Within the settlements they help improve sanitation by raising awareness. Many of the camps are occupied by in excess of 8,000 displaced men women and children.
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SOS Children's Villages will expand its programmes to ensure the children are safe and healthy - Photo: Jens Honoré
In spite of on-going security threats, that have occasionally hampered their efforts, our 250 SOS staff remain resilient in their efforts to save thousands of lives – among them some of Somalia’s 190,000 children who have suffered severe acute malnutrition.

The President of SOS Children’s Villages International, Mr. Helmut Kutin, has stressed the need for additional funding, stating that "funds for additional emergency relief programmes in the affected countries are limited, especially since rising food prices have pushed the running costs of all our programmes up by more than 20 per cent. We need additional funding because we will have to take in more children".