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2008.01.02

* Child-survival campaign reaches families displaced by conflict in Mogadishu
* 03 min 15 secs
Shoot Country: Somalia
* 02 Dec 2007

In early November 2007, tens of thousands of people, mostly women and children, fled fighting in the Somali capital of Mogadishu and made their way to safety along the Afgoye Road. This road is now home to some 280,000 internally displaced people – a number which increases every day -- who live in over 80 camps

SOUNDBITE, Suad Abdi Haji, Internally Displaced Person: “We are in a difficult condition. We live here without shelter. Nobody has given us shelter. We have no water, no beddings, we have nothing and we are desperate.”

It is conditions like this that breed diseases like measles and diarrhoea. This is why UNICEF and its partners have been launching a series of campaigns to provide a package of key life saving interventions to children under five and women of reproductive age.

SOUNDBITE, Dr. Willis Ouma Agutu, Project Officer, Health and Nutrition Central and South Zone: “During these days, children, depending on their immunization status and age, have received vaccines against polio, tuberculosis, whooping cough, tetanus and measles. They also received vitamin A supplementation, while pregnant mothers have been given iron and folics, they’ve also been immunized against tetanus.”

UNICEF hopes to reach 100,000 children and women through this effort and has already complemented the delivery of this package with activities to provide clean water and sanitation and to screen and treat children for malnutrition.

SOUNDBITE, Christian Baslev-Olesen, UNICEF Representative, Somalia: “This immunization campaign is very important for children in Somalia. You need to have in mind that only 5 per cent of all children in Somalia do get the full vaccination. Therefore we need to find ways and means to address all children especially now where more than 10 percent of the whole population is on the run, and we have very good documented experiences on the campaign model; we can reach out to 70 per cent, 80 per cent, in some places, 90 per cent.

SOUNDBITE, Geeyo Yare: “My name is Geeyo Yare and I am very happy with the UNICEF vaccination activities here, because now that I have vaccinated my child I hope he will be protected from killer diseases.”

Despite fears of increased displacement and worsening humanitarian conditions, recent data coming out of Somalia shows that it is possible to reduce the number of children dying using a campaign approach – so while many have had to flee for their lives, at least today some are walking away with a better chance at survival.

 

 

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