Adrianna Logalbo, director of Nothing But Nets writes to us from Dadaab, Kenya, where she is handing out insecticide treated bed nets to Somali refugees. Nothing But Nets and its partner the Union of Reform Judaism raised more than $1.2 million to provide long-lasting insecticide-treated nets to more than 273,000 refugees in four camps in Kenya before the summer’s rainy season. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will distribute the 128,000 nets over the next few weeks. (Readers should check out this post for more on the deadly malari-refugee nexus.) Adrianna has a special message for those who have supported Nothing But Nets, including many Dispatch readers.
It’s been a long, hot, and eye-opening day in Dadaab, Kenya with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). I’m witnessing firsthand the struggles that refugees, UNHCR, and the UN agency’s partners go through each and every day here. Let me set the scene for a moment:
* There are 3 refugee camps in Dadaab: Ifo, Hagadera and Dagahaley
* Ifo was established in the early 1990s
* Nearly 250,000 refugees are living in these 3 camps – 3 times the capacity
* Each month, another 5,000 Somalians enter the Dadaab camps, but with no more room, they are not given their own living space
It is hot and crowded here, but despite these conditions, Dadaab is recognizably a community. And I had the chance to see this firsthand today as we walked around the Ifo camp with community health workers, distributing nets to women and the most vulnerable. The community health workers know exactly whom to target and spend time at each home not only explaining the importance of using the net, but also going so far as to hanging it up for people.
Up until now, community health workers and doctors in Dadaab have had to choose which vulnerable populations should get nets, given limited resources. But thanks to YOU, the health workers and doctors no longer have to make these choices. We have been able to fund full coverage for nets (1 net for every 2 people) in the Dadaab camps, as well as Kakuma, the refugee camp in western Kenya. That’s 128,000 bed nets! The nets will go a long way in preventing malaria illness and deaths in these camps.
And I can assure you, these refugees are grateful for your support.