East Africa Famine: One-Year Report
In 2011, the Horn of Africa was hit with one of the worst droughts in 60 years, which escalated into serious famine and starvation affecting more than 11 million people. The United Nations described the situation as the worst humanitarian crisis facing the world.
We have received overwhelming support from individual and corporate donors. To date, more than $595,000 has been raised to help famine-affected communities and displaced people on both sides of the Kenya and Somalia border. Since July 2011, Medical Teams International has:
- Mobilized 11 teams with 29 doctors, nurses and health professionals who volunteered nearly 5,000 hours to provide treatment to 5,914 adults and 2,605 children.
- Reached an estimated 40,000 people through the combined efforts of volunteers, staff and local partners.
- Built the capacity of local health workers to provide healthcare in their communities.
- Mobilized more than $30,000 in medicines and medical supplies.
- Distributed 4,000 long-lasting insecticide-treated nets to help prevent malaria in children.
Medical Teams International is currently transitioning from disaster relief to sustainable development and capacity building of Somali health workers. In the next year, we plan to:
- Hire local health workers to provide medical care to the affected communities.
- Train 30 additional community health workers and healthcare providers in health promotion and management of childhood illnesses.
- Support an outpatient center that will provide primary healthcare services 6 days per week and maintain an adequate supply of essential medicines.
- Conduct a community outreach campaign on prevention and treatment of malaria and diarrhea.
- Promote and train community members on the values of breastfeeding, nutrition, safe motherhood, immunizations and hygiene.
- Support vaccination campaigns with special focus on children under the age of 5 years.
A volunteer’s reflection: “Thank you, Africa”
“My mind wanders to the humanity I’ve been treating in Africa: bright eyes, swollen livers, honest smiles, coarse wet lungs, snake bite punctures, untreatable fractures, bones worn from unendurable work, amazing infectious laughter and humor in spite of the heat, the dust and the suffering.
"Seeing both suffering and happiness married here makes me believe they are not mutually exclusive. Perhaps, like a good marriage, they give meaning to the other. The laughter erupting in the midst of poverty and famine and indignity is the most magical and true laughter.
"The cup of chai offered after, prepared on a dirt floor and sipped from a cracked mug, is the sweetest. I am filled completely with gratitude and blessing for the opportunity to share my skills as a physician with my fellow humans.
I shift my sweaty leg and sweaty arm against my seatmate and am reminded I am not alone in this service and look from face to face of our team. Together, we alleviated some suffering, perhaps saved a life or more and offered a small but real step for Somalia. As my heart and mind is filled with these things, I grin and am teetering between tears and laughter.
"Thank you Africa—I feel you gave me more than I could ever give to you.”
Dr. Paul Neumann of Stayton, OR is a Family Practitioner who has been on several previous mission trips to Haiti, Mexico and Costa Rica. Dr. Neumann went on a Disaster Relief trip to Kenya and Somalia with Medical Teams International in February, 2012.
Joe DiCarlo's video blog
"Do you remember the day that we visited Damajalee and Hamey, those two villages on the Kenya side of the border?"
Hear Joe DiCarlo, Director of Disaster Relief, talk about his trip and our work in response of the East Africa famine in his video blog.
How you can help
Help us be ready to respond to the next disaster by donating to our Worldwide Disaster Relief fund or volunteering to be on our Disaster Response Ready Roster.
Our work in East Africa is not finished. If you would like to help us continue our work, please make a donation today. Thank you for your generous support!
Our partners in East Africa
One of the key components to creating and maintaining sustainable programs is having in-country partners. Our partners in Africa assisting us in this program are:
Kenyan Ministry of Health
Paul G. Allen Foundation
Tear Fund Australia