Project #8748

Emerg Nutrition & Health Care, East Africa Crisis

by Save the Children Federation
Feb 21, 2012

Spotlight on Merlin's work in Somalia

Families in Moro Dile
Families in Moro Dile

Highlighting the Food Crisis in Somalia

Over the last seven months Merlin’s emergency response in Somalia has seen successfully saving lives, kept families from being severe malnourished and seen a huge increase rise in support offered to local health workers. 

Health Facilities - Before the food crisis Merlin supported 15 health facilities.

Now, Merlin supports 27 (6 in South Central and 9 in Puntland) and we plan to increase our spread even further over the next few months.

Outreach sites (mobile clinics) - Before the food crisis Merlin supported 20 health facilities.

Now, Merlin supports 50 (40 in South Central and 10 in Puntland) with a plan to increase this number further in Quarter 1, 2012.

By the end of 2011:

  • Focusing on communities living in very remote villages, 15,734 children under five and 6,145 pregnant women and new mothers were screened for malnutrition.
  • Of the 15,734 children, 774 were diagnosed with severe, acute malnutrition.  These children were offered outpatient therapeutic feeding: when a child stays with their family and is fed a high calorie, peanut paste called ‘Plumpy Nut’ with added nutrients.  Only one child died.
  • At remote health facilities Merlin staff support to local health workers to offer basic primary health care including vaccinations, nutrition and water and sanitation services, such as lessons on hygiene, sanitation supplies (Aquatabs, soap, chlorine and containers) and safe motherhood clinics.
  • Over 155,660 patient consultations were offered, the top illnesses included respiratory infections, intestinal parasites and anemia.
  • Community health workers completed 560 health education sessions to over 68,590 people, covering subjects such as, why vaccinating their children is important to protect them from illness and encouraging women to give birth at health facilities with trained maternity staff.
  • 84 local health staff trained on managing acute malnutrition and nutrition services.
  • 50 Community Health Workers trained (one male and one female health worker in 25 rural villages).
  • Essential disease outbreak kits have been pre-positioned, for immediate response.


In Oct 2011, nutrition and mortality surveys indicated extremely high levels of global, acute malnutrition (GAM), rates were between 20 and 34.5%.  Severe, acute malnutrition (SAM) was between 6 and 11%, compared to the ‘normal’ levels of 15.9% (GAM) and 4.9% (SAM), for this time of year.  The number of children dying each month fell at the end of 2011.  However, levels are still high, with up to 8 children out of every 10,000 dying each day.   

On Nov 28, 2011 the Somali group which control  southern and central Somalia areas, banned 16 humanitarian agencies including: UNICEF, Concern Worldwide, World Health Organisation and several other UN agencies.  Most of these groups have been working in the region since the last famine in the 1990s.  Their dismissal has caused large gaps in aid coverage and access to the strong tribal systems that exist.  Merlin and other agencies that remain, are working hard to quickly establish and build relationships to continue an effective aid program.

Money transfers from Diaspora Somali groups have to date kept many Somali families from hunger and starvation.  The US Dept. Of Treasury estimates annual transfers from the US alone, is close to $100 million.

In 2012, the number of Somalis facing starvation - those who will die if not offered assistance - has fallen from 750,000 to 250,000.  This means that there are still a quarter of a million of men, women and children in dire need of help.

Merlin’s Promise

Merlin will continue to work in Somali for as long as we are permitted, offering health care and nutrition to some of the world’s most vulnerable people. 

If you are able to offer your continued support, via a second or recurring gift, we will use it effectively to save lives.

Thank you for your interest in our work.

Waiting for help
Waiting for help
A Somali family on the Ethiopian border
A Somali family on the Ethiopian border



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Organization Information

Save the Children Federation

Location: Fairfield, CT - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Penelope Crump
Westport, CT United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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