Health, Nutrition and WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) Programming
SAACID's health, nutritional, and WASH programming began in 1992, as a response to the now infamous famine that threatened the lives of more than 2 million Somalis. Initially, SAACID worked with the Red Cross (ICRC) operating 75 wet food centres in central Somalia.
This operation was extremely successful, with only one convey we controlled being partially looted. SAACID women managers repeatedly stood in front of conveys of food and literally stared down the barrels of the weapons of militias to get food through to those most in need. In many ways it was a defining moment in the lives of these women, who found their true purpose in life as they waited for the militias to make a decision to kill them or not. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis benefited from this programme.
While the need in the famine was obvious, the international community empathised and money poured in to alleviate the crisis. Yet the more systemic problem of a completely collapsed healthcare system did not gain the attention of the international community.
Even the most basic of first aid was (and is) problematic in much of the country. At that time, SAACID decided to invest in the provision of health, WASH and nutritional services where it could secure funding; and continued to draw attention to the huge holes in health coverage in the country. SAACID has been continuously operatonal in health, nutritional, and WASH programming since 1992 to th present. SAACID is commited to this sector in Somalia in the long-term.
SAACID began operating 2 TB clinics (Somalia has one of the highest rates of TB in the world), beginning in 1994, which SAACID continues to sustain. The World Health Organisation (WHO) continues to provide SAACID with free drugs for these clinics. The World Food Programme (WFP) continues to provide food for individuals who are suffering from TB (total weight is a significant factor in determining resistance and recovery rates).
From 1992-7, SAACID partnered ADRA in providing a full range of health services to Adale District in Middle Shabelle Region (including full surgical service delivery from 1992-5). In 2007, the partnership between SAACID and ADRA ended, when ADRA withdrew due to increasing concerns about insecurity. In the period from 1997 to 2007, SAACID was able to sustain a modicum of outpatient service delivery from it own resources, and from some minimal support from UNICEF. From 2007 to 2009, Medair had been partnering SAACID in a full range of health, nutrition, and WASH operations in Adale and Raghe Elle Districts (including inpatient care and health outposts, outpatient therapeutic programming (OTP), supplementary feeding programming (SFP), and a therapeutic feeding centre (TFC) (but not surgical service delivery).
In Mogadishu, in health and nurtition, SAACID continues to operate 1 TB clinic; and operates 8 nutritional centres for children throughout the city as part of an Oxfam Novib funded Community Therapeutic Care (CTC) programme. Valid International provides the technical training and support for the initiative. While WFP and UNICEF are providing some cash funding and significant in-kind contributions for the programme initiative. In WASH, SAACID rehabilitated 23 public wells with CARE funding in 2008; and completed the rehabilitation of 36 public wells with UN-HABITAT funding in 2009.
In Lower Shabelle Region, SAACID provided water trucking to ~140,000 people in 2007-9; continues to provide daily free fresh water to up to 45,000 through a deep well bore hole; and had constructed 900 latrines from 2007-9.
The needs in Somalia are just so great that it is truly a daunting task to begin anywhere. There is still no healthcare system in place at any level. Sporadic individual initiatives, such as SAACID's, have emerged here and there, but the population at large continues to suffer in silence.
Medair also supported SAACID in treating a cholera outbreak in Jowhar District in late 2008.
Overall though, funding remains extremely scarce, and the gaps in health and nutrition in Somalia are still utterly daunting. If you would like to know more about SAACID's health, nutrition, and WASH service delivery, please do not hesisate to contact us.