In 1996, Ali Muhammad Muktar and his family arrived in the Dadaab refugee camp located in Kenya, after they left Beidoa – the city with the highest record of drought-related displacement in Somalia. The Dadaab camp, founded in 1991 as a temporary shelter for refugees fleeing the civil war ravaging neighbouring Somalia, promised them shelter, food, and medical attention. Ali was only ten years old and suffering from diabetes.
Yet, what was meant to be a temporary arrangement, has become a long-term home for around 218,873 individuals, including Ali and his family.
The camp has now grown into makeshift cities and has developed into a commercial hub connecting north-eastern Kenya and southern Somalia. Despite the insalubrious setting, Ali was given access to essential care to manage his diabetes by the Kenya Red Cross Crescent Society.
This changed his life.
Now 37 years old, Ali has become a healthcare worker in Dadaab bringing about change and assisting his community through a project supported by the World Diabetes Foundation, the Danish Red Cross, the Kenya Red Cross Crescent Society, and the Somali Red Crescent Society. The WDF21-1847 project rolled out in 2022 aims to improve the management of diabetes and other NCDs for displaced populations in Somalia and Kenya.
In the Dadaab camp, the project focuses on enhancing access to NCD prevention care through community participation, equipment and supply provision for healthcare facilities, capacity building, awareness raising, and patient education as well as support groups.
Thanks to the project, Ali and other healthcare workers have been trained to identify NCDs during community outreach. He is now not only able to maintain good health, but also assist his fellow community members in doing so.
'To ensure the long-term effectiveness and enduring impact of these initiatives, it is of utmost importance to provide robust support for counselling services, screening programs, and continuous training of community health volunteers', Ali shares. 'By supplying essential resources such as blood test strips and glucometers, we can lay a solid foundation for a brighter future and enhanced healthcare within the refugee camps.'
Ali Muhammad Muktar is participating in the WDF-funded project 'NCD care for displaced populations in Somalia and Kenya'.