International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Children of the drought: Aden’s recovery

When I met Aden Abdallah Ibrahim last July he was a very sick child. I was accompanying Dr. Milhia Kader, the leader of the International Rescue Committee health team at the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, as she walked the camp’s outskirts assessing the health of new arrivals. Every day, scores of desperate people fleeing drought, famine and conflict in neighboring Somalia arrived at the camp.

As Dr. Kader talked to a newly arrived family we noticed Aden, then three years old. He was vomiting and experiencing severe diarrhea. From his thin frame it was apparent that he was severely malnourished. Dr. Kader called immediately for an ambulance which rushed Aden to the stabilization ward for severely malnourished children at the IRC hospital in Hagadera camp, part of the Dadaab camp complex. Aden’s father Abdallah Ibrahim told us that they had just arrived in Dadaab from Somalia after walking for 25 days. His wife had died of starvation and exhaustion during the trek. Aden also became sick and his condition had worsened upon arriving in Dadaab. 
Aden weighed 11 pounds when he arrived in Dadaab

When three-year-old Aden arrived in Dadaab he weighed only 11 pounds. After a week of treatment in the IRC hospital Aden had gained two pounds.  

Photo: Peter Biro/IRC

Fast forward one year. Today, Aden has completely recovered. He is a picture of health and is well cared for by his devoted father and grandmother. During the many weeks Aden was hospitalized they never left his side.  When Aden arrived in Dadaab he weighed 11 pounds. He now weighs 26 1/2 pounds and has been discharged from the IRC’s care.  Speaking to IRC staff who visited the family recently in their shelter in Dadaab, Abdallah is overjoyed at his son’s recovery. “I would like to thank the IRC for reviving my child. I am very happy,” he said. 

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