Lifesaving Nutritional Aid for Mothers and Babies in Somalia

Distribution of 257,040 supplemental meals begins

Photo by Jaya Vadlamudi, International Medical Corps.
Photo by Jaya Vadlamudi, International Medical Corps.

Children under age five, and expectant and breastfeeding mothers in need of nutritional stabilization were the first to receive nutrient-rich XANGO meal pack porridge as part of an AmeriCares-supported supplemental feeding program in Somalia.

An AmeriCares shipment containing the first of 257,040 supplemental meals—enough to provide 8,568 people facing malnutrition with a daily boost in calories and essential vitamins for one month—is now being distributed among some of the most vulnerable victims of the catastrophic famine gripping the Horn of Africa. The vital nutritional support is part of AmeriCares large scale response to save lives and meet basic health needs throughout the region.

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Feeding Program Educates Mothers, Tracks Status of Children

The feeding program, managed by our partner on the ground, is distributing the meals in settlements in and around Mogadishu, where more than 150,000 people are seeking refuge.

As part of the distribution, each child enjoys a plate full of the fortified porridge, before mothers collect the family’s allotment.  Each mother receives training from health educators on the basic principals of nutrition and childhood development, along with instructions on how to safely prepare the porridge using boiled potable water to avoid risk of water-borne illness.

Photo by Mohamed Sheik Nur. All Rights Reserved
Photo by Mohamed Sheik Nur. All Rights Reserved
A Somalian mother receives a XANGO meal pack

In addition, each mother receives a ration card, where the distribution date and allotment of meals are recorded, along with statistics including the weight of each child and mid-upper arm circumference. This practice helps to measure and track each child’s nutritional status and progress between distributions.

Since famine was declared in parts of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia this summer, AmeriCares has delivered more than $2 million in aid to help families struggling to survive in the famine-stricken Horn of Africa, and is scaling up its programs to help victims combat illness and severe malnutrition.