Friday, July 15, 2011

Malnutrition crisis in East Africa

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF): "As prolonged drought grips Somalia, people are losing their livestock, homes and lives. Poor harvests, rising food prices, continuing violence and chronic poverty have further contributed to a sudden rise in malnutrition rates. Almost one in three children is suffering from severe malnutrition with extremely low weight, signs of wasting and nutritional oedema. Until now the crisis has been underreported in the press, however malnutrition rates amongst Somalia’s children are now double the threshold for a full-scale emergency and the problem is worsening daily. The security situation in Somalia is complicated, but because we are an impartial medical organisation and rely on charitable donations instead of government funding, we continue to be the only medical charity working in many areas. There are hundreds of children and adults arriving at our clinics every day. Many of them need expert medical care for malnutrition, often whilst battling other severe conditions such as malaria and pneumonia."

To donate to MSF's Somalia Appeal, click here. To hear from frontline healthcare providers about current conditions in Somalia, click here. To visit MSF Somalia, click here.

First, do no harm: MSF criticizes CIA's alleged fake immunization programme

Médecins Sans Frontières is challenging the CIA for allegedly using a fake vaccination programme for counter-terrorism purposes, saying it constitutes "a grave manipulation of the medical act". "The risk is that vulnerable communities – anywhere – needing access to essential health services will understandably question the true motivation of medical workers and humanitarian aid," said Unni Karunakara, MSF's international president. "The potential consequence is that even basic healthcare, including vaccination, does not reach those who need it most."

To read MSF’s full press release, click here.
For commentary from the Centre for Global Development, click here.
For background from the Guardian, click here.