Estimates of Somali children who die before reaching the age of 5 is one of the highest in the world. One of the main drivers of the high death rates is malnutrition.

One in every seven children under 5 years is acutely malnourished; and 44,000 children are severely malnourished. The physical and intellectual growth of the children is also severely affected. The prevalence of muscle wasting and stunting in Somaliland and Somalia is also among the highest in the Horn of Africa region and in the world.

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 Erigabo 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 usual put on a course of feeding and management by the nutrition staff, which included fortified milk, Oral Rehydration Salts and 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 diarrhea, through improving hygiene standards, cooking with clean safe water, and washing hands as well as how to treat common childhood illnesses.