Skip to main content

27 October 2023 - News


6-month-old Filsan smiles heartily. Photo Courtesy|Peddy Oniang’o, Save the Children

By Katra Farah & Marion Kwambai

For the past four challenging months, Filsan's life has been overshadowed by persistent diarrhoea-like symptoms, casting a shadow of uncertainty on her survival at only 6 months old. Her journey to recovery led her mother, Halima through the doors of four health facilities, including two pharmacies, in search of treatment.   

Amidst the harsh drought, Garissa County has witnessed the plight of countless families hanging desperately on the edge of peril. The arid conditions have hurt the livelihoods of many, with a great reduction in animal milk production, leading to a desolate milk supply within Halima's very own home. This hardship echoes through Shirbay village, as families, including Halima's, grapple with the harrowing challenge of accessing sufficient food and clean water. 

Filsan’s mother, Halima got the courage to visit a nearby health outreach supported by Save the Children in search of treatment for Filsan. At the outreach, Filsan was diagnosed with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) by the nutrition officer. 

Halima who had almost given up on her daughter finally had hope. The health officials at the outreach attended to Filsan with urgency. She was enrolled into the Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition (IMAM) program setting her on a path to healing. Routine medication and a referral to Modogashe Sub- County Hospital for specialized inpatient care marked the beginning of her recovery journey. 

Halima and her family have faced many challenges over the years. They have had to endure droughts, floods, and locust invasions. These climate-related emergencies have made it difficult for them to grow food, get water, and raise livestock. This has led to food insecurity, water scarcity, and the loss of their livestock. 


Halima holds baby Filsan as they sit under a shade to hide from the scorching sun. Photo Courtesy|Peddy Oniang’o, Save the Children

"We have no livestock, so we don't have a source of milk. We also lack the income to buy food from the market or seek medical help at the hospital. Since morning, I have gone without eating, and my baby cries because of hunger," explains Halima. “I came to this outreach because both the CHV (Community Health Volunteer) and my father informed me about the services provided by the outreach team. Upon arrival, my child was weighed, and the nurse informed me that she is severely malnourished with medical complications. She needs to be referred to Modogashe Sub-County Hospital for in-patient services.”  

“The nurse in charge assured me they would support the referral as I lacked the funds to go to the hospital. They emphasized the importance of taking my daughter to the hospital, and I agreed wholeheartedly, wanting her to recover. They told me my daughter would remain in the treatment program until she recovers. She was born during the drought and has never experienced rain. I wish for my daughter to get better, grow, attend school, and support us in the future,” Halima says.  

According to July 2023 SMART Survey report, Garissa County’s nutrition situation is classified at IPC 4 (Critical), for acute malnutrition. The number of persons facing food insecurity could either increase or remain the same due to the increasing cost of living and loss of livelihoods/livestock due to the consecutive droughts experienced. A review of the Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition (IMAM) program admission trends shows an increasing number of admissions compared to the last three years. 

Save the Children continues to prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable and marginalized children and is ramping up its humanitarian response. We’re rehabilitating and solarizing strategic boreholes for drought-stricken communities; providing healthcare for pastoralist and hard-to-reach communities through integrated medical outreaches including treatment of minor ailments and malnutrition; capacity building of health care service providers including Community Health Volunteers; cash assistance to households with undernourished children and facing economic stress. 

Save the Children, with funding from USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) in Partnership with local partners Waso Resource Development Agency (WARDA) and Woman Kind Kenya (WOKIKE), continue to provide lifesaving assistance to communities in Wajir and Garissa counties with the third phase of interventions.  We are implementing an integrated Agriculture, Nutrition and WASH emergency response program with the goal of providing immediate, lifesaving, and life-sustaining assistance to communities in Garissa County affected by shocks and stresses due to recurring droughts. 

We are strengthening the capacity of local partner organizations to complement the delivery of community interventions in collaboration with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), county governments, and other partners to achieve the intervention deliverables and enhance the sustainability of the project effects.