The most innocent victims of war and environmental disaster are children and their mothers. According to UNICEF Somalia has one of the highest child and maternal mortality rates in the world. One in eight children dies before reaching the age of five and 1,600 women die for every 100,000 live births. Other social indicators for children are also among the worst in the world: one in three children is chronically malnourished, hardly a third of families have access to clean drinking water, just 30% of children go to school. An average Somali’s life span is only 47 years.
Mercy-USA for Aid and Development is currently providing nutrition support and health services for children, pregnant women and nursing mothers in Somalia. Mercy-USA, with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN World Food Program (WFP), has set-up ten therapeutic feeding centers, five supplemental feeding centers and one stabilization/in-patient center.
Therapeutic Feeding Stations During the reporting period of July 2011-February 2013 about 16,100 children under the age of five suffering from moderate acute malnutrition, (MAM), and 6,450 suffering from severe acute malnutrition, (SAM), were admitted into the selective feeding program, including approximately 150 inpatients. In addition, about 4,500 pregnant women and nursing mothers were also admitted into the program.
The children with SAM are given ready-to-use therapeutic foods like Plumpy’Nut weekly, while those with MAM are given UNIMIX biweekly; both are specialized food for malnourished children.
Disease Prevention Mercy-USA is also preventing disease through the immunization of children and women, distribution of vitamin A and iron folate. As detailed above we are also digging new safe drinking water wells and rehabilitating others, as well as constructing new sanitary latrines and hand-washing stations. Mercy-USA has been providing health, nutrition and hygiene education to vulnerable communities as an effective means of disease prevention.
Mother and Child Health Clinics During the reporting period from September 2011 to February 2013, Mercy-USA’s 13 Mother and Child Health Clinics (MCHs) have been receiving approximately 75,300 visits from women and children seeking treatment, including over 47,000 visits from children under the age of five. These MCHs also provided approximately 33,000 immunizations to children (including over 21,000 to children under the age of one) and about 8,200 to women, including expectant mothers. Mercy-USA’s MCHs provided over 15,300 vitamin A, iron and folic acid tablets to women and children, as well as providing approximately 15,600 OB/GYN services to women in their communities.
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