Health workers fight against childhood pneumonia in Somaliland

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Photo| Khadra oo adeeg caafimaad ka sameynaysa Hadley oo ka tirsan degmada Gabiley/Ilyaas Cabdi Cali/Ergo

(ERGO) – Save the Children in coordination with Somaliland health ministry have launched an awareness and treatment campaign for pneumonia in a bid to reduce child deaths from this often overlooked disease.

Somaliland’s ministry of health records show that 14,000deathsfrom pneumonia in 2017.

Save the Children, an NGO, trained 90 nurses and health workers for deployment to70 villages in Awdal, Gabiley and Marodi-jeh region.

Mohamed Omar Bobe from Save the Children said the healthworkers are handling cases of pneumonia that is thought to affect more than94,000 children. So far, they have treated 2,800 children with pneumonia sinceAugust.

Ifrah Hussein lives in Balli-Matan village, where the disease has affected many children. She was trained as a health worker by Save the Children on how to respond to pneumonia cases.

Ifrah has been carrying out treatment and awareness activities in her village for the last four months.

“Every morning I go around the village to assess the situation. Since I began this operation, I have treated about 120 children affected by pneumonia,” Ifrah told Radio Ergo.

A report by Save the Children in November 2017 said pneumonia kills more than two children every hour in Somalia.  This is despite the fact that the disease can be treated with antibiotics costing as little as USD 50 cents. The report noted that 14,561 Somali children died of pneumonia in 2015.

Dr Ali Mohamed Omar, head of family health at the ministry, said pneumonia had spiraled into an epidemic in recent years.

“The numbers infected have increased due to lack of awareness. Unless a child with pneumonia is treated immediately the disease can lead to death,” Dr Ali said.

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