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Introduction

Food insecurity is a major global problem with wide-ranging effects and a particularly acute impact in Somalia. 4.3 million people, or about 30% of Somalia's population, experienced severe food insecurity as of September 12, 2022 (IMF eLibrary, n.d). The article will analyse the interconnected factors that have led to this tragedy in several areas, including ongoing conflict, unpredictable political situations, environmental problems, and high poverty rates. The essay will also discuss the serious adverse impacts of food insecurity on public health, including malnutrition, infectious diseases, and mental health issues. Using the concepts offered in the Ottawa Charter as a model, this essay will propose a comprehensive strategy to address the problem. It highlights the crucial role community nurses play in giving local communities the power to take charge of their health and well-being. The essay will explain why community assessments, nutritional education, and engaged community participation in decision-making are crucial elements of this method. The essay will also stress the importance of establishing a thorough monitoring and assessment system to ensure effective interventions and care for community needs that change over time.

In Somalia, severe and widespread food insecurity is caused by a complex web of interrelated factors. Firstly, the prolonged conflict and political instability have displaced millions, hampered access to vital utilities and impacted agricultural activity. Environmental and climate change causes further exacerbate food scarcity in Somalia. The nation is vulnerable to unpredictable rainfall patterns and periodic droughts. Climate change has worsened these difficulties, leading to greater severity and frequency of droughts (United Nations Sustainable Development Group [UNSDG], 2023). Over 6.7 million Somalian people required humanitarian aid in 2022, as reported by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) (2022). Moreover, in 2023, 6.6 million people were forecast to face crisis-level food insecurity or worse in Somalia, as reported by the World Food Programme (WFP) (WFP, 2023). Secondly, limited access to water and irrigation systems also hinders food production. Many regions in Somalia need more water resources, making it challenging for farmers to cultivate crops and maintain livestock. Insufficient access to safe drinking water for households further compounds the crisis (Food and Agriculture Organisation [FAO], 2018).

The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) asserted that as of 2019, only 52% of Somalis had access to basic water supply, illustrating the severity of the problem (UNICEF, 2019). Thirdly, another leading cause of food insecurity is the ongoing existence of high poverty rates. Poverty makes it difficult to obtain food and other essentials. According to the World Bank (2022), 70% of Somalian people live below the poverty line. This high proportion of poverty substantially affects malnutrition and the inability to purchase essential food items (World Bank, 2022). The internal and foreign displacement contributing to the food security crisis is significant. There have been large-scale evictions in Somalia. It encompasses those who are domestically displaced and refugees who have relocated from adjacent nations and frequently struggle to find food and other necessities. The UN Refugee Agency (UNRA) estimates that in Somalia, an estimated 3.8 million people are displaced, and 6.7 million people struggle to get enough food as of 2023, underlining the severity of the issue (UNRA, 2023). In addition, governmental and international organisations' data demonstrate that Somalia's food insecurity has a major negative impact on the nation's health. Malnutrition is a major issue that mainly impacts children.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that in 2023, 54.5% of Somalia's youngsters may suffer from acute malnutrition. These figures demonstrate the serious consequences of malnutrition, which weakens kids' immune systems, elevates their risk of contracting infectious diseases, and increases mortality rates, especially among the most disadvantaged (WHO, 2023). Moreover, lack of access to sanitation services and clean drinking water increases the occurrence of infectious disorders, such as diarrhea and respiratory ailments. UNICEF reports that diarrheal diseases like cholera are Somalia's leading cause of child mortality. Furthermore, food deficiency impacts psychological stress and mental health issues (UNICEF, 2019). According to a study by Ibrahim et al. (2022), high rates of stress, anxiety, and depression are caused by the difficult living circumstances in regions affected by conflicts and the psychological stress brought on by food shortages. Lastly, obstacles during pregnancy and delivery might be brought on by inadequate maternal nutrition, endangering the mother's health. According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) (2023), providing comprehensive medical care is crucial to addressing these challenges because food insecurity harms expectant and nursing mothers.

A comprehensive, diversified strategy is required to address malnutrition and food insecurity within the authority of the United Nations, particularly in a nation like Somalia that faces these serious issues. Following action area three of the Ottawa Charter, "strengthening community actions," the function of a community nurse assumes prominence (WHO, 1986). Their main duty is to effectively include and empower stakeholders in a coordinated effort to battle hunger and malnutrition. Firstly, a thorough evaluation of the community's particular needs, resources at hand, and current food and nutrition habits is an essential first step. over 1.8 million children will suffer from acute malnutrition, with 478,000 of them facing severe malnutrition in 2023, according to the WFP. This sobering fact emphasises the need for a comprehensive community assessment to identify the underlying causes of these problems and develop effective interventions (WFP, 2023).

The evaluation considers several factors, including the prevalence of malnutrition, specific nutritional deficiencies, the availability and cost of food in the area, and the influence of cultural and socioeconomic factors on dietary preferences. For effective policy development to address malnutrition and food insecurity, it is essential to comprehend these diverse components (Mansour et al., 2020). Second, the primary goal of community nursing is to empower the community to assume control over its health and well-being. According to this strategy, education and skill development must strengthen the community's capacity to battle hunger and malnutrition. The WHO has acknowledged that skill development and nutritional education are essential to strengthening community capacity (WHO, 2021).

In various settings, nutritional education initiatives have been shown to reduce malnutrition and promote dietary modifications effectively. These programs offer vital information about balanced diets, limiting one's intake, and the significance of eating various foods for the best health. By sharing this information, the community nurse gives residents the knowledge they need to make educated dietary decisions, make the best use of their resources, and reduce food waste (Guzys et al., 2021). The key to enhancing community initiatives is actively involving the community in decision-making. A fundamental idea of the Ottawa Charter and a tenet of community nursing is including the community in conversations and discussions. This strategy encourages a sense of community ownership while ensuring initiatives are appropriate to local cultures and requirements (WHO, 2023a).

The WHO emphasises the value of community involvement in initiatives related to public health since it greatly enhances the effectiveness of such programs. Community members can express opinions, share their thoughts, and actively engage in the creation and implementation of solutions in meetings, discussion groups, and forums( WHO, 2020a). By involving community members in planning interventions, it is possible to identify the most urgent problems and ensure that any proposed remedies are realistic and acceptable within the community's social and cultural context (Talbot & Verrinder, 2018). Food preferences are frequently influenced by cultural customs, beliefs, and behaviours. Participating in decision-making with the community enables the identification of the most important problems and guarantees that solutions are acceptable and well-liked in the community. People are more inclined to embrace and maintain these changes when they actively participate in their health and nutrition plans, which results in more positive outcomes.

A strong instrument for bringing about change at the local, state, and federal levels is advocacy. The community nurse's job description also includes campaigning for laws and initiatives that promote healthy eating and food security. Advocates may push for enhanced school meal programs to combat childhood malnutrition, subsidised food programs for vulnerable populations, or food aid for internally displaced individuals in conflict-affected areas (WHO, 2023b). The community nurse could push for legislation prioritising children's dietary requirements and other vulnerable groups (Clendon & Munns, 2023). It is possible to ensure that government agencies devote funds to programs that aim to increase food availability and accessibility by advocating locally and nationally. As advocating for improvements to policies and practices is crucial to obtaining better health outcomes, this aligns with the Ottawa Charter's commitment to health advocacy (WHO, 2023a). To effectively combat complex issues like food insecurity and malnutrition, teamwork is crucial. The community nurse would work with numerous local, national, and international organisations, including governmental organisations. By working together, you may increase the effectiveness of initiatives, share recommendations, and utilise resources. The WFP and UNICEF have been working in Somalia for a long time, providing money, necessary support, and technical knowledge. These organisations have supported nutrition programs and given food aid to disadvantaged groups (UNICEF, n.d).

It is essential to involve stakeholders from other industries, including agriculture, education, and healthcare, as food security and malnutrition are complex problems that call for an all-encompassing strategy. For example, the Ministry of Agriculture advocates for food production and sustainable agriculture. The Ministry of Health is crucial in executing nutrition programs and providing healthcare services. Working together with these organisations can provide a more thorough and well-coordinated response to the problems of food insecurity and malnutrition (FAO, 2017). A strong system for tracking and assessing outcomes needs to be set up by the community nurse to guarantee the efficacy of interventions. It is crucial to evaluate how community actions have affected things regularly (Fleming et al., 2019). According to the WHO, collecting, monitoring, and evaluating data are critical for public health initiatives. Regular assessments are essential for monitoring important food safety and nutrition metrics, ensuring that initiatives remain community-driven and applicable, fostering transparency, and upholding responsibility (WHO, 2020b).

Community members should actively participate in this process, offering suggestions, sharing their insights, and assisting with progress monitoring. The nurse ensures that the interventions are still community-driven and pertinent by incorporating the community in evaluation and monitoring. The concepts of transparency, responsibility, and an awareness of shared responsibility are all supported by this strategy. Additionally, it enables real-time intervention modifications based on the requirements and opinions of the community. It is essential to develop the long-term viability of community efforts (Haldane et al., 2019). Lastly, addressing food insecurity is essential, as stated in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially Goal 2 (Zero Hunger). Nurses can collaborate with community and governmental organisations to identify and assist people and families facing food insecurity. One way to do this is to connect them to social services or food assistance programs that can help alleviate the underlying causes of food insecurity (Dossey et al., 2019).

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion recommends a comprehensive and driven community strategy to address Somalia's complex food insecurity and malnutrition issues. Conflict, climate change, poverty, and displacement are just a few of the many issues that have a catastrophic impact on the country's health. Children's development and general well-being are severely affected. By actively engaging the community in understanding its unique requirements, teaching nutrition and health, lobbying for policy changes, and encouraging collaboration with diverse stakeholders, local and global, community nursing plays a crucial role in tackling these difficulties. Empowering the community to accept responsibility for its nutrition and health, considering cultural customs, and guaranteeing the sustainability of programs are important to success. Regular assessment and community involvement in result monitoring are essential to preserving transparency, accountability, and adaptation. Community nurses can considerably reduce malnutrition and food insecurity by fostering teamwork, fighting for helpful legislation, and supporting sustainable practices. With collaboration, determination, and a community-driven approach, they can make significant strides in addressing food insecurity and malnutrition, ultimately enhancing the well-being and future prospects of the Somali population and leading to better health outcomes for the overall population.

References

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