Monday, October 20, 2008

Their Future Hangs in the Balance4

Many of the children in Mame's orphanage are from this region, and Hope is opening a new orphanage in this area:
By Kate Geraghty
September 27, 2008

THE people are desperately hungry. Two thousand of them queue from early morning to see the Australian nurse Alana Baker and her co-workers for the chance to escape from the grip of acute malnutrition.

Drizzling rain and cool temperatures do not deter them; nor does the crowd-control man whipping people back into line with a branch.

Baker, 28, is in the second week of a three-month mission in southern Ethiopia with Medecins Sans Frontieres Belgium, working as an outreach nutritional nurse.

Thousands of people, mainly farmers, travel up to 250 kilometres to reach the mobile clinic where Baker and up to 10 staff work.

The team visits five locations each week, testing for malaria and screening people for severe and moderately acute malnutrition. They weigh, measure and register them, giving nutritional supplements to those who need them.

In May the nutritional crisis was dire, Baker said, but the clinics were making a difference.
Last week the United Nations estimated that up to 17 million people in the Horn of Africa urgently needed food, up from 9 million earlier this year, as drought, soaring food prices and conflict took a toll on the region.

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