News / Africa

Dadaab Doctor Says Children under Five Show Most Signs of Malnutrition

New mothers and expectant moms travel up to 45 days with no food

Kim Lewis

A doctor working with Somali refugees in Kenya says she is seeing large numbers of Somali refugees coming in every day in need of immediate healthcare.  Dr. Milhia Kader, health team leader for the International Rescue Committee, (IRC), at the Hagadera camp in Dadaab says the IRC has services at the reception center at the camp, where all new arrivals go for medical and nutritional evaluations.  She said the biggest concern is with children less than five years of age.

“Most of them are presenting with malnutrition.  They are emaciated.  Some of them are so sick that we have to refer them to our inpatient facility immediately upon seeing them,” said Kader.

She said the camps are over stretched, bursting at their seams.

“We are now having refugees living in the outskirts of the camps where access to water, sanitation is difficult, and there are inadequate social amenities for them in these areas,” said Kader.

For mothers who have just given birth or who are pregnant, it is especially difficult because they have been travelling in most cases up to 45 days with no food, resulting in doctors at the camps seeing high levels of low birth rates.

Somali refugee boys eat porridge during break time at the Liban integrated academy at the Ifo refugee camp in Dadaab.
Somali refugee boys eat porridge during break time at the Liban integrated academy at the Ifo refugee camp in Dadaab.

“Mothers are also coming in very anemic, with very low blood levels.  That not only has an effect on the risk of death to a mother when she is having the baby, but also there is a risk of the baby having anemia after delivery,” said Kader.

Another high risk is infection for the baby and the mother.  In many cases, the mother has delivered the baby while on her journey to the camp or in the outskirts of the camp sites with no medical assistance.

To reduce this risk Kader says breastfeeding is strongly encouraged.

“For newborn children, we encourage breastfeeding.  But for children who have malnutrition, apart from encouraging breastfeeding, for children under three years of age, we are providing high calorie, rich milk. This is to help them catch up before we switch them to therapeutic food,” explained Kader.

She said one of the therapeutic foods that is very beneficial is PlumpyNut because it has a high caloric content.

“When given to these children between six to eight weeks, they are able to gain weight to almost normal levels in a short period of time,” said Kader.

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid