Children at risk of malnutrition as Somalia drought worsens

More children are facing severe malnutrition as drought worsens across Somalia. Hamdi Yarrow Mustaf, 7 months old, was brought to a World Vision nutrition clinic in Baidoa in the country's south and upon screening was found to be severely malnourished. He weighed only four kilograms at the time. Due to the prolonged drought, children are not getting enough nutrition because of a severe lack of food, as parents have lost their livelihoods and food prices have gone high.

Additionally, due to limited access to water and poor sanitary conditions in settlements for internally displaced people, waterborne diseases are on the rise, which is further contributing to an increase in malnutrition cases across World Vision clinics. At least 200 children have died of malnutrition centres since January this year. The UN has warned that 1.5 million children under five years old, across Somalia face the risk of severe malnutrition, of these nearly 386,000 are likely to be severely malnourished by the end of 2022.

Plumpy Nut is a Ready-To-Use Therapeutic Food, which is a highly nutritious paste is being administered to keep children aged six months and older alive. However, parents and frontline health workers say the lack of food in households causing children like Hamdi to relapse, even after being treated for malnutrition and being discharged.