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MSF Treating Thousands of Malnourished Children in Southern Ethiopia
June 13, 2008
In the past month Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has admitted more than 4,000 severely malnourished children into its nutritional programs in the Oromiya and Southern Nations and Nationalities People’s regions (SNNPR) of southern Ethiopia. On May 13, MSF set up a stabilization center to provide 24-hour medical care to severely malnourished children suffering from complications such as malaria or pneumonia in Ropi, Oromiya region. Since then two more centers have been set up in Senbete Shinquille and Shashemene, Oromiya region. In total 927 children have been admitted to these three centers, with 290 currently receiving care.
Many of them are suffering from kwashiorkor—a form of edema caused by malnutrition, which manifests in liquid retention in the legs and feet. Kwashiorkor is a serious condition that can lead to death from heart failure or other complications.
Children who are not suffering from complications are treated on an outpatient basis in outpatient therapeutic programs. They are provided with therapeutic food on a weekly basis, but are able to stay at home with their families. They return to these outpatient centers every week to be monitored by MSF medical staff and can be referred to a stabilization centre if necessary. In Oromiya MSF has eleven such outpatient centers in various locations throughout the region.
On June 2, MSF teams also started working in the Kambata zone of SNNPR. One stabilization center has been set up in Kachabira district. As of June 13, 150 children were receiving medical care there. Four outpatient centers have also been established; two in Kachabira district and two in Hadero district. In the last two weeks, more than 900 severely malnourished children have been admitted into these programs and are receiving therapeutic food.
In the coming days MSF will continue to expand its activities by increasing the number of outpatient centers in both Oromiya and SNNPR. In addition, MSF teams will continue to carry out assessments in order to identify the worst affected areas and respond where necessary.
In the past month MSF has admitted more than 4,000 severely malnourished children into its nutritional programs in the Oromiya and Southern Nations and Nationalities People's regions (SNNPR) of southern Ethiopia.