One year of drought

A report by Dorothea Kumpf and Karina Busemann

Only few people have heard of Somaliland. The first things associated with it are Somalia, terrorist attacks and pirates. Some might have heard of the past civil war, refugees or the drought in the Horn of Africa. What you don’t hear anything about in the news is that the people of Somaliland are struggling for prosperity and stability. Although Somaliland declared its independence on 18th May, 1991, it is not recognised by the global community.

Most of the people living in Somaliland are nomads and roam the country with their cattle herds. Due to the drought, many families have lost their livestock and with that their livelihood. Thus, they have been forced to settle in refugee camps. Under these circumstances and especially due to the long-lasting drought and the rural population’s extreme poverty, Cap Anamur has decided to provide emergency relief in this country.

WHAT WE HAVE DONE SO FAR

Everything started with supplying various refugee camps in the area and villages in the district of Sabawanaag with food and water. This way, we have been supplying 13,000 people in need with the essentials for survival since April 2017. Due to the ongoing water shortage, aid is still needed, though.

Since March 2017, Cap Anamur has been supporting a hospital in Caynabo, which had been unable to provide any patient care up until that point because the required resources had not been available. Now, in co-operation with local personnel, basic care can be provided. In this hospital, all kinds of injuries as well as diseases such as measles, pneumonia and diarrhoeal-related illnesses can be treated. Furthermore, women giving birth can get the assistance they need. There are 40 stationary beds in the hospital, and 50 to 70 outpatients come to the care centre every day. Thus, over 1,000 inpatients and 9,100 outpatients could be treated last year. Not only do these patients come from the village, but also from the two refugee camps near the village and the surrounding area. Unlike in the rest of Somaliland, the treatment is free for all patients. The treatment of the many malnourished children and adults is particularly challenging. The hospital provides three meals for patients and mothers in need. Severely undernourished patients are provided with therapeutic food.

OUR NEXT STEPS

We have already achieved a lot in Caynabo, but our work is far from over. We are trying to provide further training for the personnel and expand our range of diagnostic and treatment methods. A huge problem is that people have to travel long distances to get to the hospital. As a result, the patients often arrive very late and in a critical condition. Sometimes, they even die of diseases that could have easily been treated because their villages are simply too far away. Therefore, we want to extend our work and be able to provide help for people in these regions. In future, we want a team of doctors and nurses to go to larger villages up to 200 kilometres from the hospital so that people can be examined near their homes. We also want to inform people about diseases, healthcare, family planning and hygiene to improve their knowledge regarding these issues. In Somaliland, traditional and highly-questionable methods are still being used to treat patients. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is still a widespread tradition. We hope that campaigns executed by trained native personnel will raise awareness of FGM and help combat the problem.