Somalia: Patient story from Kismayo

Four-year old Khalif has been under treatment in MSF’s in-patient therapeutic feeding centre in the southern Somali town of Kismayo for just over two weeks when his mother, Abshiro GEDI, tells his remarkable story.

The family lives in Mayondo village, around 60 kms. North of Kismayo, in an area that has been heavily affected by the ongoing crisis in Somalia. Two of Khalif’s brothers recently died because of complications arising from measles, and Khalif and his sister were also suffering the same disease. When one of Abshiro’s brothers, who lives in Kismayo, heard the bad news about his nephews deaths and illness, he hurried to Mayando to bring the two remaining sick kids to MSF’s therapeutic feeding centre for malnourished children in Kismayo.

Once there, Khalif was admitted as he had signs of severe malnutrition “Today the child is completely different than that day he was admitted,” explained Abdirasak Sheikh ABDIWAHAB, MSF Project Coordinator Assistant in Kismayo’s centre for malnourished children. “Cases like this who improve quickly are many, not only Khalif, but this is a good example of the conditions people face here.”

With the current and still ongoing humanitarian crisis in Somalia hitting the southern regions hardest, MSF opened a therapeutic feeding centre for children under the age of five in the city of Kismayo, aiming to curb child malnutrition and mortality in the city and its surroundings. Children this age are most at risk of dying from malnutrition. Since opening this centre in November 2011, MSF has treated over 300 children, with an average of 50 under treatment at any time.
MSF has worked continuously in Somalia since 1991 and currently provides free medical care in eight regions. Over 1,400 Somali staff, supported by approximately 100 staff in Nairobi, provide free primary healthcare, surgery, treatment for malnutrition, as well as support to displaced people through health care, water supply and relief items distributions in nine locations in South- and Central-Somalia. MSF is also providing medical care to Somali refugees in Kenya and Ethiopia.