215,000 kids in Somalia in urgent need of healthcare

Last Updated: Wed, Feb 06, 2013 07:30 hrs

Nairobi, Feb 6 (IANS) About 215,000 children in Somalia are in urgent need of health care due to increased vulnerability to health complications related to malnourishment, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.

WHO Emergency Coordinator for Somalia Omar Saleh told journalists in Nairobi Tuesday that there is need to ensure that more people especially those in rural areas can receive health and other humanitarian services, reported Xinhua.

"Malnutrition rates in Somalia are still among the highest in the world with one in seven children acutely malnourished, and one in 33 severely malnourished," Saleh said.

He said humanitarian agencies have increased health services and expanded emergency healthcare due to improved security following the crackdown on the Al-Shabaab militants by the African Union forces in Mogadishu and southern Somalia.

"Insecurity has been one of the main obstacles to health service delivery in most areas of southern and central Somalia as well as some rural areas of Somaliland and Puntland," Saleh said.

"Health facilities in these areas are in poor conditions with shortage of health equipment, supplies and skilled health workers," he added.

Saleh said although nutritional situation has slightly improved in the Horn of Africa nation, the situation remains one of the worst in the world.

With reduced access to basic services, such as health care and clean water, the ability for these children to reach their potential is severely restricted.

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