Infants die of malnutrition in DinsoorPhoto | Photo | Mother cradling her malnourished infant in a Hudur clinic/File/Husni/Ergo
(ERGO) – An eight-month-old baby boy who died on Thursday, 21 January 2016, was the most recent casualty among a rising caseload of malnourished children in Dinsor, according to medical officers.
Salah Haji Mohamed, a medical officer working at a small clinic run by an NGO in Dinsor, said 21 children under the age of five had died from malnutrition over the past three weeks.
He said currently there were 60 children admitted to the clinic for treatment. Twenty-five of them were admitted on Thursday.
The clinic is the only one in the district providing treatment for malnutrition.
Salah told Radio Ergo they had treated and discharged many children only to have them brought back again in poor condition because their families had nothing to give them at home.
“I am worried because when my son is discharged from this health centre, I will not be able to afford to feed him,” said Safiya Adan Abdullahi, whose three year old son had started to improve after being admitted for treatment.
Deqo Mohamed Ali told Radio Ergo that her six children were constantly hungry because she had hardly any food to give them. “Their father and I are unemployed,” Deqo said. She is currently nursing her two-year-old son in the clinic.
According to Salah, malnutrition cases had been rising over the past three months, during which period they had treated 685 infants. The clinic was overwhelmed with the numbers and struggled to provide adequate care.
Food shortages in Dinsoor have reached critical levels as the roads in and out of the district have been blockaded by Al-Shabaab militants for the past eight months, preventing supplies from being delivered.
On top of this, Dinsoor received inadequate rain last season and in previous years. Local farmers had been unable to plant due to lack of water and other inputs.
The deputy district commissioner, Hassan Mohamed, told Radio Ergo the food shortage in the district was alarming. The price of a 50kg bag of rice had doubled from 300,000 to 600,000 Somali shilling ($13.5 to $27). He said local people’s food reserves had been exhausted and most could not afford to buy food as they had no sources of employment income due to the blockade that had stifled the local economy.
The deputy commissioner asked the Federal Government, the South-west State and humanitarian organizations to assist by bringing in food to Dinsoor by air.