Leading the fight against malnutrition

SHiFAT, in collaboration with the Somaliland Ministry of Health, funded by UNICEF, initiated the operation of two Stabilisation Centres located in Erigavo and Las’Anood Regional Hospitals in August 2016.  The project began at a time when severe droughts were ravaging Somaliland’s rural communities. 

At the Stabilisation Centres in Erigavo and Las’Anod regional hospitals, children are referred from the Outpatient Therapeutic Centres (OTPs) based at Maternal and Child Health Centres in the rural areas, as well as mobile centres that visit villages to screen children for malnutrition.

Once diagnosed and admitted into the nutrition and Stabilisation unit, children are usually put on a course of feeding and management by the nutrition staff, which included fortified milk, Oral Rehydration Salts, minerals and antibiotics.

Once discharged, the children attend an outpatient therapeutic centre for follow up care close to their home.
Here, along with other malnourished children who do not have complications requiring inpatient treatment, they are given a package of nutrition services to ensure the inclusion of treatment, promotion and prevention known as the Basic Nutrition Services Package.

In addition mothers attend health and nutrition education sessions where they learn the importance of exclusive breastfeeding for infants from birth to six months, and the type of foods that should be introduced after six months. They are also taught how to prevent diarrhoea, through improving hygiene standards, cooking with clean safe water, and washing hands as well as how to treat common childhood illnesses.