Kutubla 2018-community stories

Kutubla 2018-community stories

Case-stories for AWD Emergency project ‘Emergency WASH and Nutrition Response Combatting AWD in Afambo and Assaita Districts, Afar Region’ August 10th to December 9th 2018

Case story 1:

From August 10th to December 9th, 2018, Afar Pastoralist Development Association (APDA) was able to respond to the AWD outbreak in Assaita and Afambo supported by International Rescue Committee (IRC) through USAID funding. This case history is of this project period.  Guhla Yusuf was among many whose lives changed drastically due to AWD and this recounts her response to that change.

Guhla Yusuf, 41 year old female from Asmara, Kutubla made an absolutely astounding contribution to the raising of awareness and change of hygiene and sanitation practices in her community.

In July (2nd week), Guhla lost her 15 year old son dead in Asmara and the day after, her 8 years old son who had gone to Harissa (1 ½ hours walk from Asmara) died – both from AWD. Her eldest was one of the first affected when a strong outbreak hit Asmara – when he died, health workers had not quite reached their area and there was no understanding of the way to make up ORS. He was ill for 8 hours and died. His younger brother had gone two days before that to visit the uncle in Harissa. He also died before health workers could reach him and help him. Moreover, Guhla’s husband lost his brother dead after the funeral for the 15 year old boy in Asmara.  The children died after drinking contaminated water from the channel that Asmara people are dependent on and the older man died after helping bury the 15 year old boy.

This tragedy left Guhla with only 2 children of which one is handicapped having had a polio – type disease in her childhood.

When Guhla understood all the issues surrounding AWD of the need to clean and purify drinking water, of personal hygiene, of how ORS can be made up and how to look after affected people and protect from contamination, she became absolutely dedicated to see that no-one else in her community suffered like she did. Throughout the project, she worked alongside health workers raising awareness and checking that each home had adequate hygiene and sanitation to protect against AWD and to tackle the problem when it occurred. She was tireless in teaching people how to make up water PUR, making sure families with small children had soap and making sure any form of human waste was properly disposed of. The health team really recognized she is a champion of hygiene and sanitation awareness.


Case –story 2: Taken from the project implementation of ‘Emergency WASH and Nutrition Response Combatting AWD in Afambo and Assaita Districts, Afar Region’ from August 10th to December 9th 2018, a project implemented by Afar Pastoralist Development Association through the facilitation of International Rescue Committee using USAID funding.


Faatuma  Aboobakar, 50 year old woman from Diyyelu in northern Kutubla similarly became a champion for the cause of stopping AWD. Her community drinks from the same channel that travels on to also supply the people of Asmara with water. On July 16th, her 22 year old daughter, mother of 3 children died of AWD – she had called the health worker who was 2 hours walk away but when he reached her house, it was too late. Her veins had collapsed and he could not get an IV in. She was buried the same day and on the next day, her daughter’s 3 year old fell sick and died – they carried this child to Falka for treatment but his small veins were too difficult to cannulate and by the time they reached the AWD treatment center in Falka, the child was unconscious. Realizing the health workers had to cover such a huge territory on foot to reach one case, Faatuma took the role of cooking for the health workers, helping them carry supplies and organizing community meetings to teach them water purification and use of soap. She was able to give front-line treatment of ORS having learnt to make up re-hydration fluids and was able to see when the person needed intravenous treatment to survive. In fact, of the project months, she worked most of the time away from her house supporting the project team.


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