Inside the Banadir Hospital’s pediatric diarrhea center, there are images of emaciated babies receiving fluids through intravenous drips. These kids suffer from diarrhoea, a condition associated with cholera and unclean drinking water, which usually leads to malnutrition and fatal dehydration.
Whenever an epidemic breaks out, it is the children who bear the brunt of such conditions, although older people mainly from south and central regions of the country have also been affected.
Doctors in this overstretched hospital say they treat as many as thirty five cases on a daily basis since the hospital serves as the biggest referral health institution in the war-torn capital”.
The epidemic has largely affected residents from Mogadishu and the outskirts. While in the hospital, we encounter Hawa Mohamed, a mother of seven. Hawa says she came from Dafeet, a remote village almost 90 kms from Mogadishu to seek better treatment for herself and her five month old baby who has been ill since birth.
Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD) has been reported in the past in Mogadishu. Majority of those affected are the poor and the internally displaced persons. Doctors in Banadir however say they cannot confirm whether some of the cases are cholera due to a lack of proper equipment.
Health experts however forecast that the situation might worsen in the coming months as the country is experiencing hot weather. The hospital also lacks essential medical supplies with most of the health aid agencies that used to assist withdrawing their support for the hospital.
Acute watery diarrhoea has been a recurrent problem in Somalia for more than a decade now, as the country has been plagued by wars, poverty and natural disasters including repeated droughts, famine and flooding.