Hygiene Kits Improve Health in Ethiopian Refugee Camp
By Abiyot Teklaye, WASH Program Manager, Dollo Ado
September 25, 2013 – Fadumo resides in Bokolmanyo camp in Ethiopia’s Dolla Ado refugee complex with her husband and five children. She and her family came from Somalia on foot, an immensely difficult six day journey, fleeing the increasingly dangerous war with Al-Shabaab and a famine that has cost many lives in recent years. Fadumo’s relatives and neighbors were killed by Al-Shabaab, while she and her family lost many of their animals in a drought.
“Life,” Fadumo says, “was very difficult in Somalia.”
She had to travel about 1.2 miles to get to the nearest water point, where she waited 1-2 hours to collect water with her single 3-liter Jerry can. This was not sufficient even for drinking. Further, Fadumo had no personal hygiene items such as soap or toothpaste.
After a week in Dollo Ado’s transition center, Fadumo and her family were assigned shelter in Bokolmanyo camp, where they have lived for the past four years. During that time, International Medical Corps built latrines and bathing shelters for Fadumo and her family. Recognizing that the majority of Bokolomayo’s residents like Fadumo could not afford to buy hygiene items from the market, International Medical Corps has also started working with the communities to ensure that those in need have adequate access to hygiene items.
“It is only from International Medical Corps that I have received these things during my stay in Bokolomayo,” Fadumo notes.
International Medical Corps now provides toothpaste, toothbrushes, towels, nail clippers, and body soap as part of our hygiene kits. Our Community Hygiene Promoters provide information on how to use the kits’ contents and access other health services available to residents.
Fartun notes, “I am grateful to International Medical Corps that I received the personal hygiene items for free which will enable me and my family to have good personal hygiene.”
International Medical Corps implements hygiene and sanitation programs in three of the five refugee camps in the Dollo Ado corridor—namely Kobe, Melkadida and Bokolmanyo camps. Since 2003, International Medical Corps has operated programs throughout Ethiopia, strengthening local capacities and delivering services in HIV/AIDS and infectious disease, reproductive health, nutrition, psychosocial support, maternal and child health, water, sanitation and hygiene services, and livelihood security.