Witnessing the starvation death of a two-year-old in Somalia.

Witnessing the starvation death of a two-year-old in Somalia. healthcareseervices.vision

Abdiwali Abdi appeared to be stumbling toward recovery after spending two days in a modest Somali hospital.

The two-year-old was barely heavier than a healthy baby at about 4.6kg (10lb 2oz). However, he had the strength to complain now, and his mother, Hawa, was nursing their two-month-old daughter while sitting next to him on the bed in the border town of Dollow, making hopeful plans to go back to their makeshift camp on the barren fringes.

Amid Somalia’s worst drought in 40 years, Fatuma Mohammed, a senior nurse, and administrator from Kenya paced around the 17-bed stabilization ward filled with 17 infants all battling hunger and the many diseases that keep them company.

Hawa, 22, who was attentively monitoring her son, said, “We don’t have food to feed him, but our neighbors have been assisting us.” Before they eventually came to get treatment, he had been getting weaker and sicker for weeks, with a fever and diarrhea.

Follow, a dusty border town in southwestern Somalia has a district hospital that has been discreetly helping kids like Abdiwali for years.

With funding from the UK government and others, it has established a network of community workers who offer basic medical treatment, not only in the city but also well into the disputed countryside, where the militant Islamist organization al-Shabab holds many villages.

But now, after a fifth unsuccessful wet season, Dollow is being overrun by a wave of newcomers. Tens of thousands of people, including Abdiwali, have assembled in dense informal settlements in the hopes of finding food and safety despite their land being parched and their cattle dead.

“People are already losing their lives, and there are potentially hundreds of thousands at stake. We don’t have the resources to support them, “As more families arrived at one of the larger camps, Abdulkadir Mohamed from the Norwegian Refugee Council spoke.

Near Abdiwali, the medical professionals gathered. With two fingers, one of them repeatedly pressed on his chest to trigger a heartbeat. To stare into the child’s frozen eyes, his colleague stepped closer. At the foot of the bed, the parents were silently watching.

The event came to an end at 10:13 on a cloudy morning.

As she watched Abdiwali’s mother drop onto the bed and start to scream, Ms. Mohammed muttered, “The heartbeats have gone.”

“Numerous newborns have been saved by our efforts. But presumably, things are becoming worse today, “In a voice befitting someone who has witnessed such scenarios often, Ms. Mohammed observed.