The nearest health centre is miles away from the village of Gawsawayne, Somaliland. So getting sick from drinking dirty water is a serious matter.
As the only doctor living here, Jama Abdi Abdile is under incredible pressure. Trapped by poverty and parched by drought, this community relies on him. His tiny house has been taken over by medical supplies, and he travels from home to home treating his patients. The one thing he needed more than anything else was clean water. With support from people like you, Oxfam was able to provide it – by the truckload.
When you talk to Jama, the challenges he faces every day are clear. “The area is quite extensive and there are so many people living here. People living this close together brings more risk of diseases. There are so many difficulties, but I try to do as much as I can.” If this last part feels like an understatement, that’s because it is. Jama saves lives, against the odds, every single day.
Many people in Jama’s village lost their livestock because of the drought, and couldn’t afford to buy food. Parents had no choice but to watch their children get sick from drinking dirty water out of a nearby shallow spring. And malnutrition was becoming a huge problem, putting pregnant and breastfeeding mothers at particular risk. “Every month, the number of cases is getting bigger,” Jama says.
Getting help to everyone who needs it is a mammoth task, but Jama started to see some light on the horizon the day Oxfam began trucking water into the village.
Getting water flowing in this village was a huge relief for its dedicated doctor.
Jama no longer has to worry about paying for clean water to be brought in from far away – and he doesn’t think twice about using it to mix his urgently needed Oral Rehydration Salts. Put simply, it’s now cheaper and easier for Jama to treat people.
“The water we are receiving has helped us immensely,” he says. “It has helped us to reduce the costs, and it is helping patients to take their medications. If people drink this water they are less likely to be sick. This has also boosted the morale of the whole community.”
Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, Oxfam can keep working with determined people like Jama to help some of the world’s poorest communities get through the East African drought. And we’ll stick around to help those communities figure out how to make sustainable livelihoods in the changing, drying climate.
Jama’s job will never be easy – but it doesn’t have to be impossible, either. With your help, we can keep the water truck visiting Gawsawayne village – and replenish hope with every litre of clean water we deliver.