NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 4 – Malnutrition remains a major threat to health care, one of the Big Four agenda items, hence the need for concerted efforts from both public and private sector to address concerns of malnutrition in the country.
This case has been severe in poverty stricken areas and in informal settlements.
According to data given this year by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics at least 29.9 per cent of children aged below five years across the country are malnourished due to lack of sufficient nutrients for proper physical and mental development.
This trend could deprive the country its intellectual capacity in future if not addressed through the right nutrition.
As part of measures to address malnutrition, the Nairobi County in partnership with Concern Worldwide and Korea International Cooperation Agency on Thursday launched a feeding program aimed at addressing malnutrition in informal settlements.
The program dubbed “Lishe poa Maisha poa” will mainly focus on promoting healthy foods and feeding practices among children under five years, pregnant and lactating mothers who are prone to malnutrition.
Nairobi County Health Director Lucina Koiyo who was present at the launch expressed the county’s commitment to address malnutrition noting that it’s a key enabler to economic prosperity.
“Every child has a right to decent nutrition; we are ready to collaborate with partners to decrease malnutrition,” she said.
Concern Worldwide Health and Nutrition manager Kassim Lupao said nutrition is vital in ensuring proper growth and development especially in the early stages of life.
“Most cases of malnutrition are due to lack of food blamed on poverty. This can adversely affect the development of a child’s brain, translating to the underachievement of personal and national goals therefore this project is coming in to address that gap,” he said.
While calling upon more partners to come on board, Concern Worldwide Country Director Amina Abdulla said this issue can only be addressed through a Public-Private-Partnership approach.
According to UNICEF, malnutrition rates remain alarming with nearly half of all deaths in children under five attributed to under nutrition, translating into the loss of about three million young lives a year globally.
However, it is said that this can be prevented in the first 1,000 days of life that is from birth to about two years and that adequate nutrition during this period can avert malnutrition, ensuring that children have the best possible opportunity to grow, learn and rise out of poverty.