Three major challenges for child relief in 2018
Children are the first victims of the conflicts that continue to engulf many countries. With violence and natural disasters likely to cause acute humanitarian needs this year, what are the three major challenges facing us in 2018?
Monsoon rains threaten the Rohingya
The worst could happen and add to the plight of the 860,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. While the refugees are already living in extremely precarious conditions, having fled violence in Myanmar, the rain season that begins in March culminating in monsoon and possible cyclones in summer threatens to become a real disaster. Floods will endanger the lives of the 500,000 children in the camps, exacerbating the poor sanitation and increasing the risk of the spread of diseases such as dysentery, acute diarrhoea and diphtheria. The makeshift camps in Cox's Bazar are located on deforested hills presenting a risk of landslides. To prevent this risk, Terre des hommes has been constructing its community and health centres on an elevated level and with flood-proof material. Since 2017, we have been supporting the Rohingya families, in particular mothers and their children who are suffering from malnutrition.
Iraq, a roof for those who have lost one
The official end of the war against the Islamic state group in Iraq does not mean the end of humanitarian needs for families. For the first time, more people are trying to return to their place of origin than leaving. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), at the end of last year 3.2 million people had returned to their place of origin compared to 2.6 million displaced. Terre des hommes, the first children's aid organisation to help people on the front line, also supports families when they return. Many of them find their homes in ruins. Working with Better Shelter, we will distribute 1500 shelters to the ones in greatest need. These homes have been designed by the Ikea Foundation and can be assembled by the displaced families themselves close to their former homes that have been destroyed.
Improving the diagnosis of children in West Africa
The right to health is still denied to many children in West Africa. In Burkina Faso for example, one out of ten children dies before their fifth birthday. An improvement in the medical diagnosis can save many lives. That’s what we have achieved with our IeDA application. This innovation has helped medical staff consult one million children in Burkina Faso since 2014. The tool helps health workers provide a more accurate diagnosis by recording the children’s data on a digital tablet. Our goal for this year is to continue to expand the project’s reach to other regions together with the government of Burkina Faso and to implement it in other countries to help save more children's lives in 2018.