Above, a mother weighs her child under the watchful eye of a community health worker in Ethiopia during a nutrition checkup. To identify those who are malnourished or might be at risk, children are weighed and their mid-upper arm circumference is measured.
The situation in Ethiopia continues to worsen, where several consecutive seasons of below normal rainfall—exacerbated by the effects of the strongest El Niño climatic event in decades—have caused agricultural, livestock, food security, nutrition and health conditions to decline in northeastern and central Ethiopia.
By February 2016, some 10.2 million people required emergency food assistance and other humanitarian interventions, according to the Government of Ethiopia. International Medical Corps’ nutrition experts reported a sharp increase in the number of malnourished cases they have treated in the last month, a trend they project will continue.
The Government of Ethiopia is leading the effort to bring an end to this crisis and at the request of and in partnership with the government, International Medical Corps is expanding its programs and services to meet the increasing health and nutrition needs of families and communities. Over the last months, International Medical Corps teams have mobilized, expanding programs to six additional regions, assessing 90 outpatient nutritional care programs and 24 inpatient programs and training 1,385 additional health workers on malnutrition treatment, nutrition monitoring, and/or community outreach.
International Medical Corps procured and delivered medicine and medical supplies, as well as ready-to-use therapeutic food like Plumpy’Nut, a food supplement fortified with vitamins and minerals used in the fight against malnourishment, to local health clinics and facilities. Our teams also delivered supplies via donkeys to reach the most remote villages that cannot be accessed by vehicle. In the East Hararghe zone of Oromia, a donkey transported supplies from the health center to the outlying health posts. These donkeys significantly reduce transport costs, improve medical care, and community based management of acute malnutrition services.
International Medical Corps’ continues to expand outreach and education sessions, redoubling efforts to engage in discussions with community members about improving infant and young child feeding practices, particularly to encourage breastfeeding. These one-on-one and group discussions are supplemented with the use of radio messages and posters promoting positive behaviors.
Moreover, with approximately 5.8 million people in Ethiopia also in critical need of safe, adequate, and appropriate water, sanitation, and hygiene services, International Medical Corps is providing increased access to water for some of the most drought-affected communities. Expanding these activities reduces the spread of disease that can exacerbate malnutrition. We have rehabilitated 9 of 12 planned wells, which have already reached more than 3,000 people with access to safe water. Alongside improving infrastructure, our teams on the ground trained 819 water, sanitation, and hygiene community leaders to ensure proper management and provide water-related outreach in their communities.
Over the last year alone, International Medical Corps provided services and treatment for more than 22,300 children and mothers suffering from malnutrition in 299 clinics, stabilization and nutrition centers in at-risk communities and refugee camps. We continue to train and provide supportive supervision as the community members like the mother and her child above, attempt to avoid the rising risks.
We thank you and GlobalGiving for your timely support as we, in line with the Government of Ethiopia’s efforts, minimize the impact of the drought and help the people of Ethiopia access the resources they most need.
Plumpy'Nut - a fortified food supplement
Donkeys transporting material to rural health post