Malnutrition rising in besieged HudurPhoto | Malnourished infant in Hudur/Xusni/Ergo
Around 50 children under the age of five are currently hospitalized in two health centres treating cases of malnutrition in the district of Hudur.
The managers of the two health centres run respectively by local NGO Mardo and international NGO Action Against Hunger (ACF) told Radio Ergo they had each been receiving around 30 malnourished children a day over the past week.
Abdikarim Abdullahi Ibrahim, a medical officer with Mardo, said they had been seeing cases of malnutrition for several months, but the numbers had risen dramatically during January.
“We give them all medical attention and the nutrition they are lacking but only admit to the hospital those that are too weak and who need special dietary care,” said Abdikarim.
The Mardo and ACF centres together have treated at least 625 malnourished children in the past three months. Most of the children came from Mooragaabey, Garasweyne, Abal, Wanay and Abaqbeedey villages in Hudur District.
One woman, Muslimo Maallin Hussein, spoke to Radio Ergo’s reporter at the ACF clinic, where she had sought treatment for her 11-month old baby boy. The family comes from Abaqbeedey village, 18 kms from Hudur town.
“I don’t have food for my son at home - our livestock died. He has been suffering from diarrhea and vomiting for many days. It is only when I arrived at this hospital that I was informed he is suffering from malnutrition,” she said.
The increase in malnutrition is associated with the general shortage of food and hugely inflated prices in Bakool region resulting from the continuation of an Al-Shabaab blockade preventing supply routes from being used. In addition, many families in the districts’ villages have had the livestock they depended on wiped out by recent drought in the region.