Even if a person is getting enough food to eat sometimes those foods are not the right foods, which leads to malnutrition.

Malnutrition can make daily life difficult for people living in developing countries. A child’s learning abilities become lower and physical work becomes extremely tiring and impossible to perform. According to UNICEF there are 200,000 malnourished children in Somalia. UNICEF supports stabilization centers in Somalia which help malnourished men, women and children gain access to resources that are not normally available to the community. The stabilization centers admit severely malnourished children under the age of five.

Malnutrition causes generalized oedema, which is the abnormal swelling and buildup of fluid in the body’s tissue, mainly in younger children. Accordingly, acute malnutrition cause Somalian children to suffer from diarrhea, anemia, malaria, dehydration, high fever and vomiting. In fact, 50,000 cases of severe acute malnutrition in Somalia are at risk of death.

Once the child is healthy he or she can be discharged from the stabilization centers. Immediately after the child returns home the care at the outpatient therapeutic centers begins. These are located close to the child’s home and continue to provide services to the child and the family. Only children well enough are discharged from the stabilization centers.

The therapeutic centers’ services include a basic nutrition package which promotes treatment and the prevention of disease and illness. The packages contain micro-nutrient support, infant and young feeding information, along with maternal nutrition information. Moreover, the centers encourage the proper use of handling and cooking food as well as, managing child illness and immunizations. The children are also given a peanut-based paste to help maintain proper nourishment along with vitamin A and deworming tablets.

Mothers in Somalia do not have access to basic human necessities, and unfortunately leave their new born babies unattended for hours while foraging for food. However, UNICEF aims to end this issue by the end of 2014. In fact, UNICEF’s goal is to give over 90,000 vulnerable people the basic foods and non-food needs. The mothers will attend health and nutrient workshops provided by the therapeutic center to help promote a healthier lifestyle throughout their communities. These workshops provide information to call attention to the benefits of breastfeeding to prevent malnutrition for infants.

Furthermore, giving information on subjects like proper hygiene standards and washing hands regularly will help reduce the spreading of disease and illness. Currently, UNICEF hope to administer 1,900,000 children under the age of five with the polio vaccine, as well as 300,000 children under the age of one with the measles vaccine. These vaccines will lead to more longevity for the people of Somalia. Once these methods are instilled in the lives of Somalian women and children the communities will continue to promote and prevent these issues from reoccurring.

– Rachel Cannon 

Sources: UNICEF, WFP