Hunger and thirst, the deadly consequences of Somalia’s drought, have doubled the number of children admitted to the nutritional centre in Baidoa. The centre, one of the few places where malnourished children under age five can get life-saving treatment in south and central Somalia, has more than twice as many children this year compared to last year. In a similar centre in the country’s southern port city, Kismayo, the situation is much the same, the facility is overwhelmed by the high number of mothers streaming in with children visibly wasted, and in urgent need of medical help.
At Baidoa hospital, tents have been put up to accommodate an increase in patients that has stretched the hospital’s capacity to far beyond its 150-bed limit. The centre has now admitted 230 children under the age of five, who are staying with either their mothers or care givers. This time last year, the figure stood at 100.
“The work has increased so much. The patients have increased says Suuldano, the supervisor at the nutrition centre. “We are tired. There’s a gap in the staff. More staff came in but the gap is still there and they are not enough.”
Nationwide, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Somali Red Crescent Society have seen an 80 percent increase in the number of malnourished children treated at the two centres and clinics compared to last year
Uncertainties about the rainfall performance during the current Gu season (April - May) has raised fears that the effects of the drought will persist and the risk of the situation deteriorating further remains very real. A sharp spike in malnutrition levels is a cruel signal that things could be taking a turn for the worse. Only six years ago, a devastating famine in the country led to the death of over a quarter million people, half of them children.
“What we saw in the two nutrition centres that we are supporting in Kismayo and in Baidoa, is nearly double the number of children that have been admitted to these two centres. Which is clearly the result of a severe food crisis that is currently affecting Somalia.” says Dominik Stillhart, the head of ICRC Operations.
There is some good news: the nutrition centres in Kismayo and Baidoa, supported by the ICRC, as well as the Somali Red Crescent network of clinics, have scaled up their response and remain vital centres where parents can bring their sick and malnourished children.
“When the mother or the father brings in the child and they say ‘the child is dying and we brought him here’. In the end, they leave here laughing and happy. It’s one of the things that makes me very happy.” says Suuldano, supervisor at the nutrition centre.
For further information, please contact:
Jason Straziuso, ICRC Nairobi: +254 733 622 026
Pedram Yazdi, ICRC Nairobi: + 254 700 888 131
Aurelie Lachant, ICRC Geneva: +41 79 244 64 05
To find out what the ICRC is doing to assist drought affected people in Somalia, go to
or visit the ICRC Somalia blog: www. http://blogs.icrc.org/somalia
Location: Baidoa, Somalia
Format: HD H264 mov
Camera: Mark Ng’ang’a
Date: May 2017
Copyright: ICRC access all
00:00:00 - 00:40:33 VARIOUS Hamdo Ali Dahir, with her grandson Awes Ali at the ICU in nutrition centre in Baidoa regional hospital.
00:41 – 00:58 Soundbite Suuldano, Supervisor at nutrition centrel (Somali), “The work has increased so much. The patients have increased. We are tired. There’s a gap in the staff. More staff came in but the gap is still there and they are not enough.”
00:59 - 01:17:00 VARIOUS ICRC’s Director of operations, Dominik Stillhart, during a tour of the nutritional centre. Due to the increase of patients, the centre resorted to long lists of paper to track the dosage of therapeutic milk given to patients after they ran out of room on the white boards.
01:17:00 – 1:26:56 A nurse at the Baidoa nutritional centre goes over the medical records of the patients. The vitals of the children at the centre are monitored daily and results are plotted on a chart.
01:26:56 – 139:42 Dominik Stillhart being shown the phase one ward of the nutrition centre in Baidoa.
01:39:42 – 1:56:48 Shamso Hussein, 20, and her 12-month-old daughter talk to a nurse at the phase one ward of the nutrition centre. Various with CU’s of child
01:56:48 – 2:16:24 Soundbites Dominik Stillhart, Director of Operations, ICRC “What we saw in the two nutrition centres that we are supporting in Kismayo and in Baidoa, is nearly double the number of children that have been admitted to these two centres. Which is clearly the result of severe food crisis that is currently affecting Somalia.”
02:16:48 – 2:36:24 “What I have seen in the centre here is really a significant difference between those that have been admitted in the past 24hrs and those like Ibrahim here who is just sitting next to me who has been here for seven days and he is already in a much better state.”
02:36:24 – 2:58:35 ”The impact is significant, the problem is that once these children and their parents go out there we need to make sure that they can remain(maintain) their nutritional status and that is a challenge because all the entire community here, all around Baidoa and in Baidoa itself is in a critical situation.”
02:58:35 – 03:25:14 Phase one ward shots. General supervisor talks to Shamso Hussein a mother who brought her son to the clinic this week (15 May 2017).
03:24:00 – 03:46:50 VARIOUS Therapeutic milk for the children being served to the mothers and care givers.
03:46:50 – 04:22:28 Mother (Zahro Mohamed Yare) gives her 10-month-old son Mohamed Nur the nutritional milk that is given to children.
04:22 – 04: 36 Mother singing and clapping with baby
04:36 – 05:06 58 Soundbite Suuldano, Supervisor at nutrition centrel (Somali) “I have a lot of pictures of say a child when he comes in very severe, be it marasmus or kwashiorkor. And the photo after, when he leaves. When the mother or the father brings in the child and they say ‘the child is dying and we brought him here.”
00:23:09 – 00:28:18 In the end, they leave here laughing and happy.
00:28:18 – 00:30:16 It’s one of the things that makes me very happy.”
05:06:28 – 05:27:01 Wide Shots of Baidoa town.