Children in Somaliland suffer congenital deformities and wound-related conditions that could be improved by surgery, but most needs are going unmet, according to a study co-led by Baylor University and Duke University researchers.
The need is especially pronounced in rural areas of Somaliland, a country in the Horn of Africa with a population of more than 3.5 million residents, most of whom live more than two hours from a surgeon and many as far away as 24 hours. The problem is magnified by the fact that the country is predominantly low-income, said lead researcher Emily R. Smith, assistant professor of epidemiology in Baylor’s Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences.
“With one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world in Somaliland, it is essential to accurately identify the burden of surgical conditions in the population, particularly among the vulnerable population of children,” said Smith, who also is adjunct assistant professor of global health at the Duke University Global Health Institute. “A parent’s love for a child, particularly when that child is sick, is the same regardless of what part of the world you live in.”