Saturday, May 25, 2013

SOMALIA: Food and Health Status

The right to food is one of the most important human rights. Adequate supply of clean and nutritious foods may prevent many diseases in humans. Unfortunately, not all parts of the world receive the sufficient amount of resources needed for food. Somalia, for example, ranked as one of the poorest regions of the world. The Sub-Saharan Africa, which includes Somalia, has a GDP of $2,475.31 in the year 2012. To be specific, Somalia has a GDP per capita of $600. 


Photo courtesy Dr. Mae Melvin/CDC
A photomicrograph of a blood smear showing red blood cells that contain developing P. vivax parasites, magnified 1000 times. 

Besides the insufficiency of funds, there are also numerous diseases that are endemic in Somalia; most of which are water-borne. The image on the right shows a blood smear of a person with malarial infection examined under a microscope. According to the journal of Oldfield III et al. (1993) entitled The Endemic Infectious Diseases of Somalia, the most common causes of mortality among malnourished Somali people are: diarrheal diseases, malaria, measles, and acute respiratory illnesses. Bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever are some of the food- or water-borne diseases that are endemic in Somalia (Source: http://www.indexmundi.com/somalia/major_infectious_diseases.html). Therefore, tourists are not encouraged to drink tap water since most are not used to the local environment. They are also advised not to eat raw or undercooked dishes because the number of diarrhea cases is high. This is to prevent them from getting serious illnesses after visiting the country. 

With the above statements being said, it is not surprising that Somalia is one of the most deprived countries in terms of food and healthy lifestyle. This is unacceptable considering the number of children that reside in this country. Different organizations worldwide try their best efforts to help the Somali people; they usually start with food allocation and health assistance. 

The World Food Programme, for example, has organized a Mother and Child Health and Nutrition (MCHN) Programme to prevent both acute and chronic malnutrition in children under the age of 2 years. This prevents the irreversible growth and mental damages caused by malnutrition. They also provide school meals to children in order to encourage the children to attend schools. These type of organization hopes to improve the lifestyle of the people from deprived countries, such as Somalia. A little help from one individual to another becomes huge when put in a large scale. These people continue to hope that one day, the Somali people, and other third-world countries, will be able to rise from this predicament. 
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