The Horn of Africa is experiencing the worst drought it has seen since 1945.
With drought comes famine and a downward spiral of escalating health issues. Those worst affected communities often live miles from any health facilities.
Getting out to Gotu might have been quicker by camel! Incredibly resilient people living in Nakuprat-Gotu.
We did an integrated outreach here, so we took medicines, vaccines, ultrasound (for antenatal care) as well as the nutritional support. The community here live 60km from the nearest health service and even when they get there cannot be sure it will be either staffed or stocked with meds. The need for basic primary and public health services in communities like this is enormous. We had many people still queuing when we had to leave – but thanks to Doctors of the World and Northern Rangelands Trust we will be back to this community every two weeks for the next six months. I might find a camel to ride on for next week!
Out of the office and into the bush for a fantastic mobile outreach service. We met truly inspirational people and were accompanied by wonderful volunteers. There were some tough moments though: The MoH / UNICEF mandate states that only those with ‘clinical malnutrition’ can receive food supplements. We saw one mother of twins who had walked over 5 hours to the outreach clinic with her four young children. She looked gaunt and all the children were thin and clearly hungry. The mother and the twins were just outside the ‘criteria markers’ for malnutrition so they leave with nothing. The deep accusatory look she gave haunted me all night. How would I feel if faced with the desperate guilt of a hungry crying child but had nothing to provided?
182 UN member states joined the Millennium Development Goals that finished in 2015, we are two years into the Sustainable Development goals (ofwhich Goal 6 is ‘Clean Water and Sanitation’) and yet thousands of children still have no access to clean water. Why? How? What can be done?
There are some things in the world I find quite astounding given we are in the 21st century: for example, Waitrose does not deliver in Cornwall; I can’t get phone signal when lying in bed with a cup of tea; and some children in the world do not have access to clean drinking water. Society – what’s going on????