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Saving lives through integrated health and nutrition services: The life story of young Hudayfa

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The International Rescue committee (IRC) is implementing integrated health and nutrition services through funding from the BRCiS program funded by UK government. The services are delivered as a core package of integrated essential preventive and curative services to vulnerable populations through mobile outreach and fixed sites in four districts: Dhusamareeb, Galkacyo, Burtinle and Goldogob. The services include; outpatient consultations for the under-five and above five-years-old infants with severe and moderate acute malnutrition cases who are enrolled in outpatient therapeutic programme (OTP) and therapeutic supplementary feeding program (TSFP) coupled with health education and nutrition awareness sessions.

These mobile health and nutrition teams during their routine screening sessions in Balicad village, of Dhusamareeb district met Halima Mohamed carrying her one-year-old child Hudeyfa. She had travelled from a nearby village to access the services of the BRCiS supported mobile outreach team. Hudeyfa was severely malnourished weighing 5 Kgs with a height of 65 cm and a very thin hand with a MUAC of 10 cm.

After taking the history and assessing the child, Hudayfa was found being severely malnourished and with medical complications. The child was then immediately referred to the IRC (member of BRCiS consortium) supported stabilization center in Hanano hospital in Dhusamareeb for further assessment and Management. At Hanano hospital, Hudeyfa was diagnosed further by a medical doctor in charge of the stabilization center and admitted the child for inpatient care for severely malnourished children with medical complications. Then Hudayfa received therapeutic milk with intravenous antibiotics for treating severe pneumonia. His condition started to improve medically and began gaining weight as well as the normal appetite for food and drinks.

After eight days in the inpatient care, Hudayfa was discharged from the stabilization center to continue with the Outpatient Therapeutic Program (OTP) in Balicad village for another two months where BRCiS nutrition services are provided by the weekly mobile outreach team. “I feel happy for the treatment that my child received without which he could die and now he weighs 6.1Kgs” said Halimo Mohamed, the boy’s mother. She added “I received sessions about infant and young child feeding during our stay at Hanano hospital which was very helpful and I now understand the importance of exclusive breast feeding”. She mentioned that she had home deliveries and her children were all given water with sugar until the breastfeeding was initiated days after delivery. Halimo will now be enrolled in the next mother to mother support group (M2MSG) in Balicad village to gain more knowledge on exclusive breast feeding, supplementary feeding, importance of ante-natal care, skilled birth deliveries and family planning (child spacing).

The life of this child and many more children at risk of these medical complications and death are saved daily through the support of the BRCiS health and nutrition program funded by UK government. Since July 2019, IRC Dhuusamareeb admitted and managed 4,830 children under five with acute malnutrition. Additionally, the stabilization center at Hanano hospital in Dhusamareeb admitted and treated 120 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition with medical complications that needed inpatient care.

Published by
Abdikarim Ali, NRC BRCiS Communication and advocacy coordinator