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STAMFORD, CT – More than $1.2 million in critically needed medicines and medical supplies from AmeriCares have arrived in Somalia to help thousands of starving children and adults suffering from widespread famine and one of the worst droughts in over a half century.
The emergency shipment from AmeriCares Stamford, Conn. headquarters contains enough critically needed antibiotics, pain relievers, IV solutions, maternal and child health products and surgical supplies to treat an estimated 20,000 patients. The medicines were specifically requested by the Ministry of Health based on critical need, and are currently being distributed to hospitals, clinics and mobile medical teams treating the sickest and most severely malnourished patients in and around Mogadishu.
More than 13 million people across East Africa are in need of urgent assistance due to one of the worst humanitarian crises in decades. In Somalia alone, 4 million people are at immediate risk of developing communicable diseases due to a lack of health care, poor sanitation and malnutrition. Outbreaks of cholera, typhoid fever, malaria and measles have been reported in parts of Somalia and refugee camps across the region, along with high incidences of pneumonia and acute respiratory infections. About 30 percent of Somali children are acutely malnourished, placing them at high risk of contracting serious, and often deadly, diseases.
“These medicines and supplies may mean the difference between life and death for the most vulnerable patients, including many pregnant women and children,” said AmeriCares Medical Director Dr. Frank Bia. “By delivering oxytocin for women in labor, sterile sutures for the operating room and broad spectrum antibiotics for patients fighting infection, we are saving lives.”
Since famine was declared in parts of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia this summer, AmeriCares has delivered more than $2 million in aid to these East African nations, including building a field hospital for Somali refugees crossing the border into Kenya. The hospital will house a therapeutic feeding center, operating room, intensive care unit, labor and delivery ward, laboratory and pharmacy when it opens later this month at the Kambioos refugee camp. The semi-permanent facility, which will be operated and staffed by the International Medical Corps, is expected to be operational for at least two years. Additionally, AmeriCares has delivered to Somalia enough nutritional supplements to provide 8,000 people a daily supplemental feeding for one month, and enough water purification supplies to Kenya to give 34,000 people a two-month supply of safe drinking water.
AmeriCares has been aiding survivors of natural disasters, political conflict and extreme poverty in Africa and around the world for nearly 30 years, saving lives and restoring health and hope.