Direct Relief International is granting $25,000 to support the people in the Horn of Africa who are facing the worst famine and drought conditions in over 60 years.
This $25,000 grant will be provided to the Women and Health Alliance International (WAHA), an international nonprofit organization committed to improving maternal and neonatal health in disadvantaged communities throughout Africa. WAHA has a long history of working in this region and are collaborating with the Kenyan Ministry of Health and Medecins du Monde (MDM) to scale up the maternal and child health services in the Dadaab hospital, the only public hospital in this region of eastern Kenya.
According to the United Nations, the refugee camp in Dadaab has now become the largest in the world and Kenya’s third-largest city with over 500,000 refugees. The hundreds of people arriving daily have strained the basic medical resources available in the camp. Weekly admissions for severe malnutrition and traumatic injuries are increasing and water- and vector-borne diseases like cholera, measles, dysentery, and malaria have all broken out and are expected to worsen with the upcoming rains. Sexual violence against women is rampant, and an estimated 300,000 children and pregnant or breastfeeding women are currently affected by acute malnutrition, according to news reports
The Kenyan Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation (MPHS) reports that basic equipment and services for maternity and childcare is not available for the people living in the region. As a result, child and maternal mortality rates in the refugee camps and among the host population are among the highest in the world. The Dadaab hospital has not been equipped to provide quality maternal and neonatal health services or emergency obstetric care.
The $25,000 grant from Direct Relief will enable WAHA to purchase the specialized medical tools and instrumentation needed to provide emergency obstetric care services in the delivery room at the Dadaab hospital. WAHA expects to perform over 100 difficult deliveries per month. While the goal of Direct Relief’s grant is to improve the existing public health structures to deliver quality reproductive and child healthcare for the host and refugee populations, it will also enable the Dadaab hospital to serve as a referral center for serious emergencies for people in the refugee camps.