Monday, April 08, 2013
Despite continuous improvement in the humanitarian situation in the Horn of Africa, malnutrition continues to be a challenge in Somalia according to new findings by United Nations humanitarian aid agencies.
The report argues that an improvement in food security does not imply immediate reduction of malnutrition rates. It points out factors such as diseases, limited sanitation structures and inadequate food intake as the causes of malnutrition in Somalia.
An estimated 215,000 children under-five years of age are acutely malnourished in Somalia. Of this number, at least 45,000 are severely malnourished. Many international aid agencies say they are still unable to deliver food and medical aid to families in the region, citing safety concerns and Al-Shabaab threats. Two-thirds of these children are in the southern regions.
According to aid agencies, access to the most vulnerable people especially in southern Somalia remains the biggest challenge. Southern Somalia was among the regions highly affected by the great famine of 2011.
Malnutrition has not only affected people in Mogadishu and southern Somalia but also in central Somalia. Hospitals there suffer from lack of sufficient drugs to tackle emergency cases such as acute water diarrhea that has affected thousands of young Somali children.
The local administration in Hiiraan regions however appeals to international aid agencies and Muslim countries to assist the displaced families with urgent food and medical care.
Humanitarians are concerned about the steady increase in cases of acute watery diarrhea in Mogadishu and Lower Shabelle regions. Banadir hospital, the overstretched sole referral health center in the wartorn capital attends to hundreds of patients from all over Somalia.
According to the UN’s Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in Somalia has dropped to slightly over one million since August 2012. However, malnutrition rates in the region still remains among the highest in the world.