The International Rescue Committee (IRC) implements integrated health and nutrition services using funds from the BRCiS program, which is funded by the UK government. The services are provided as a core package of integrated essential prevention and healing services for vulnerable populations via mobile contacts and fixed locations in four districts: Dhusamareeb, Galkacyo, Burtinle and Goldogob. The services include; Outpatient consultations for infants under five years of age and over five years of age with severe and moderate cases of acute malnutrition participating in an outpatient therapy program (OTP) and therapeutic supplemental feeding program (TSFP) in conjunction with health education and nutritional awareness sessions.

These mobile health and nutrition teams met Halima Mohamed with their one-year-old child Hudeyfa during their routine check-ups in Balicad Village, Dhusamareeb District. She had traveled from a nearby village to access the services of the BRCiS-supported Mobile Outreach team. Hudeyfa was severely malnourished and weighed 5 kg with a height of 65 cm and a very thin hand with a MUAC of 10 cm.

Following the child’s medical history and assessment, it was determined that Hudayfa was severely malnourished and had medical complications. The child was then immediately referred to the IRC (member of the BRCiS consortium) supported stabilization center at Hanano Hospital in Dhusamareeb for further assessment and administration. In Hanano Hospital, Hudeyfa was further diagnosed by a doctor in charge of the stabilization center and the child was admitted to the hospital for severely malnourished children with medical complications. Then Hudayfa was given therapeutic milk with intravenous antibiotics to treat severe pneumonia. His condition began to improve medically and increased, as did his normal appetite for food and drink.

After eight days in inpatient care, Hudayfa was released from the Stabilization Center to continue the Outpatient Therapy Program (OTP) in the village of Balicad for an additional two months, with BRCiS nutrition services provided by the weekly mobile outreach team. “I am delighted with the treatment my child received, without which it could die, and now it weighs 6.1 kg,” said Halimo Mohamed, the boy’s mother. She added, “I received sessions on feeding babies and toddlers while we were at Hanano Hospital which was very helpful and I now understand the importance of exclusive breastfeeding.” She mentioned that she had home deliveries and hers Children were all given water with sugar until breastfeeding started days after delivery. Halimo is now being accepted into the next mother-to-mother self-help group (M2MSG) in the village of Balicad to learn more about exclusive breastfeeding, supplementary nutrition, the importance of prenatal care, qualified birth preparations and family planning (distance between children).

The lives of this child and many other children at risk of these medical complications and death are saved daily through support from the UK government funded BRCiS health and nutrition program. Since July 2019, IRC Dhuusamareeb has admitted and treated 4,830 children under five years of age with acute malnutrition. In addition, the Stabilization Center at Hanano Hospital in Dhusamareeb has admitted and treated 120 children with severe acute malnutrition with medical complications who had to be hospitalized.

Published by
Abdikarim Ali, NRC BRCiS communication and advocacy coordinator