In response to the famine and humanitarian health crisis unfolding in Southern Somalia and the surrounding region, Direct Relief is boosting inventories of medications and medical supplies for people seeking care in Northern Kenya.
Dr. Hezron Mc’Obewa, the founder of the OGRA Foundation in Kisumu, Kenya, who also serves as Direct Relief’s regional medical adviser, is coordinating Direct Relief’s humanitarian response from Kenya, where he sits on the special committee formed within the Kenya Council of NGOs to address the crisis.
Because the crisis has not generated significant financial contributions, Direct Relief is is allocating an initial $50,000 from reserve funds to obtain and distribute essential medications and supplies in response to specific needs identified in the camps and settlements in and around Turkana, in northwestern Kenya near the Ethiopian border.
Many organizations and governments, including the government of Kenya, are mobilizing resources to address the severe needs for food, water, and sanitation services for the more than 400,000 people on the Kenya-Somalia border displaced by the drought conditions.
Direct Relief is focusing on expanding the pipeline of medical essentials that also are urgently needed and for which specific information, distribution, and expertise are required. Reports from the World Health Organization and field personnel at camps in Kenya indicate high incidence of acute malnutrition, acute respiratory infections and waterborne illnesses including cholera, as well as high risk for dengue fever and yellow fever.
Dr. Mc’Obewa is working with the medical personnel to identify the sites, health personnel, and specific needs within the region.