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Ethiopia: Saving Mustapha

On a recent visit to the tiny village of Oromiya in Ethiopia, I met Keminya and her son of eight months, Mustapha.

Like so many children in this drought afftected area- Mustapha has been losing weight rapidly and become incredibly weak.

As I sat down next to Keminya, she softly explained to me “The harvest has failed, most of our animals have died and we cannot feed our children.”

Wasting away

Sadly Keminya has already been through this worry. Mustapha’s 3 year old sister, Amina was also suffering from malnutrition three weeks ago. Lacking vital food and water supplies, Amina was wasting away.

In fact government and health care workers report that cases of acute and severe malnutrition are increasing at an alarming rate. 

The on-going drought has left many families without enough food, making children vulnerable to the illnesses that their bodies would otherwise be able to resist.

Draining journey

In addition to the lack of food, water shortages are forcing families to use water from the nearby river in Genale. Worryingly the river now is drying up and will require several days of good rain to bring it back to normal levels.

In her desperation over Amina’s life, Keminya heard of an Outpatient Therapeutic Centre (OTP), supported by Save the Children.

She then undertook the draining journey to the clinic in an attempt to save her child’s life. Something she was now facing doing again for Mustapha.

Healthy again

On arrival, the staff at the OTP centre provided life-saving assistance to Amina. She received check ups, a high protein food substance and life-saving treatment.

Keminya explains, “Amina looks like a happy healthy child again, she plays and runs around like any normal child. I know the food has made them better and I hope it will save Mustapha”

Keminya said to me, “I thank Save the Children for helping to treat Amina and hope that Mustapha will get well soon the same way.

“I know many other mothers whose children are sick and losing weight. I have told them to bring their children here where they can get help. When they see how well Amina is now, they believe me.”

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