Huddled in a nearby hut, we meet the community elders who tell us that the mobile health teams are making a positive change in the community. But again, the same worry is heard that if rain does not arrive in October things could drastically turn from bad to worse. This community depends on farming to feed their families, but without rain crops have failed. The cattle too is thinning out, it is not only the water that is waning, but also pasture.
A one and half hour drive from Dabakatur, we reach the city of Kalafo. Men, women and children are in the streets and the market is full of life. But food is sparse and there is no doubt that the people of Kalafo are struggling as well.
At the health center we are told that more pregnant women are arriving here weak and anaemic. They are also seeing more children this year than last, many of whom are malnourished. UNICEF along with NGOs are providing support to the health center, both in terms of vaccinations and fortified therapeutic foods. In recent years, the government has put in place a health extension program with the support of UNICEF and others partners, and the services provided at Kalafo health center and through the mobile health teams are all part of that.
But the system is stretched, and what the drive from Gode to Kalafo reminds us of not only the resilience of the people here, but also the need to continue to ensure that aid can reach the women and children of this drought impacted region.