AMREF Drought Response
AMREF is there. We have been working with African communities and developing lasting health solutions for more than 50 years. “Every community we work with has been affected by the drought. These are the people we work with daily, so we need to be there with them in times of crisis” says AMREF Kenya country director Dr. Lennie Bazira.
We stand by these communities during this crisis to alleviate suffering and reduce further loss of life.
We have completed an impact assessment of AMREF program areas in Kenya. The assessment shows that activities have been disrupted as communities’ priorities shift towards the search for water and food. An AMREF drought response core team has developed an implementation plan of short- and medium-term interventions to assist the populations most affected.
AMREF staff is working to mitigate the devastating impact of the drought and famine: we are accelerating our water and sanitation programs, promoting sanitation and hygiene in schools and households; distributing food supplements to malnourished children, pregnant women and people living with HIV; and have created temporary community health centers for those most at risk. We have also expanded access to maternal and child health services for communities affected in order to prevent outbreak of diseases like cholera and diarrhea, and stem the impact of malnutrition. AMREF medical outreach teams are also providing expert support to the refugee camps in northern Kenya to assist in treatment of malnutrition and diarrhea.
We are deeply engaged in working with the government and our partner organizations to alleviate the impact of this enormous crisis. Working with some of the poorest and most vulnerable people on the continent, we are all too aware of the impact of the drought and famine on the communities with which we work.
In the medium-term, AMREF will implement measures to address chronic malnutrition, inadequate safe water, poor hygiene and sanitation, and related diseases. This includes putting up more water sources such as boreholes, and shallow wells, promotion of sanitation and hygiene in schools and households. Using existing structures in program areas, including Community Health Workers, AMREF will scale up and diversify outreach services targeting the most vulnerable groups in the community. This includes distribution of food supplements to malnourished children, pregnant women and people living with HIV, and creation of temporary community therapeutic centers for children under five and pregnant women. School children are another key vulnerable target group for AMREF, we will help with the supply of water and supplementary feeding programs.
A lot more needs to be done, however. It is evident that the drought will continue to have consequences on the health of communities long after the food shortage has ended. Thus, while emergency relief and other short-term measures are important in stabilizing the communities and ensuring minimal loss of life in the present, AMREF will remain focused on sustainable development to reduce the vulnerability of communities to increasingly frequent and severe climate-related disasters. So, even while we are ramping up our activities to provide emergency assistance for this urgent need, we are also continuing our programs for lasting health changes, the cornerstone of our work in Africa for more than 50 years. This can only be done effectively and sustainably by building capacities within communities and helping them to establish or strengthen structures and systems that minimize the effects of a drought, especially on their health.
There is so much work to be done –today and long after this crisis has ended. We are calling on all of our supporters, our friends and our families to help us support immediate relief efforts and ensure a healthier future for all those bearing the brunt of this famine. Please make a gift today to support those in need.