Bola and baby Kadhija recovering in hospital (Copyright: Lydia Wamala)
WFP’s hospital feeding programme is making a difference for both patients and their carers in Dadaab.
DADAAB -- Inside an isolation ward at a hospital in Dadaab, Bola Gurow Dure struggles to carry her small child. She is so weak she can barely sit up or reach out to cover the child. Bola is suffering from measles, as is her child, and both are malnourished. Her child is an eight month old baby girl called Kadhija Mahat Yare.
Bola speaks a rare Somali dialect, which is why she struggles to understand the interpreter. When she understands, she says: “I don’t remember exactly when we came here, I think it was two months ago.”
Not far from Bola and Khadija, a child only covered in patches of cotton wool, cries and cries. Further down the corridor, more sick children lie there panting, their guardians watching helplessly.
The measles ward is part of a hospital run by the German organisation GIZ. It is located next door to a reception centre for newly-arrived Somali refugees fleeing famine, drought and conflict in their homeland.
Support to hospitals
Health is one of the sectors where WFP is helping to save lives and support families caught in what the UN has recently termed the worst humanitarian crisis.
“WFP support to sick people helps them improve faster,” says WFP nutritionist Sahar Nejat, “while assistance to caretakers encourages them to be involved in the patients’ recovery.”
WFP provides cereals, corn soya blend, salt, vegetable cooking oil and pulses which the hospital cooks for both patients and their caretakers. The hospital complements the meals with fruits, vegetables and sometimes eggs.
Patients, parents speak
Sahro Mohamud, the 24-year-old mother of another sick child says, “Some of us have no one to cook for us back home, and so we need this food. The reason we left Somalia was because there was famine. We came in search of food and water”.
Sahro says she arrived in Dadaab four months ago.
Part of recovery “Food is an essential part of the patients’ recovery ”, says the hospital’s Clinical Service’s Coordinator, Dr. Hamza Sheikh. “Nutrition support helps to build the body’s immunity. Most of our patients arrive with absolutely nothing. They’ve no food, no utensils, nothing. Some of them come to the hospital even before they can check in at the reception centre”.
The good news for the patients is that the rate of recovery in the hospital’s malnutrition ward at is about 97 percent.