Kenyan county government to tackle malnutrition with US$23.2m Nutrition Action Plan

KENYA – The County government of Nakuru in Central Kenya has partnered with Nutrition International and other nutrition stakeholders to launch Ksh. 2.55 billion (US$23.2m) County Nutrition Action Plan (CNAP), aimed to tackle the menace of malnutrition in the region.

The CNAP, according to Kenya News Agency, is comprised of a set of ambitious targets for the scale-up of nutrition interventions over the next five years, providing a road-map for all the stakeholders to reverse and address the burden of malnutrition.

Nutrition International, a not-for-profit agency based in Canada, has supported the initiative through its Nutrition Technical Assistance Mechanism’s Technical Assistance for Nutrition project, funded with UK aid from the United Kingdom government.

Other partners who offered technical support include the Ministry of Health’s Nutrition and Dietetics Unit, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Afya Uzazi and Egerton University.

“As a county we have a target of reducing malnutrition by 60 percent and 58 percent respectively in children under five and expectant women in the next five years as outlined in our 2020-2025 CNAP.”

Nakuru Deputy Governor – Dr Eric Korir

Nakuru Deputy Governor Dr Eric Korir indicated that the plan is paramount as the county loses Ksh 626.9 million (US$5.7m) due to increased mortality, low economic output and lowered labour productivity attributed to malnutrition.

This amount represents 0.22 percent of the devolved unit’s Gross Domestic Product.

According to statistics from the devolved unit’s Department of Health of the 275,921 children under five living in the county, an estimated 27.9 percent are stunted way above the national level of 26 percent, a further 5 percent are wasted while 10.2percent are underweight.

“As a county we have a target of reducing malnutrition by 60 percent and 58 percent respectively in children under five and expectant women in the next five years as outlined in our 2020-2025 CNAP,” Dr Korir indicated.

It is projected that 5,436 cases of wasting will be avoided, 1,473 child deaths averted, 22,453 cases of anaemia prevented in pregnant women and 4,666 cases of anaemia avoided in adolescent girls.

“We are confident that over the period, prevalence of stunting will come down by approximately 38 percent while cases of iron deficiency anaemia in pregnant women will drop by 58 percent,” he added.

The preventative high-impact nutrition interventions within the CNAP will reach an average of 395,032 newborns, children, adolescent girls and pregnant women annually.

Malnutrition has both health, economic and social consequences and undermines the basic human rights.

On her part Nutrition International Kenya Country Director Martha Nyagaya regretted that one out of every three people in the world is malnourished.

The solution to under nutrition, she said, lies in low-cost intervention mechanisms which need to be up scaled by actively involving individuals, families and the communities.

The CNAP has incorporated the priorities of the Nakuru County Integrated Development Plan 2018-2022 and the County Health Sector Strategic and Investment Plan 2018-2022.

It lays out actions for resource mobilization, and coordination and implementation of nutrition interventions with health and other key sectors.

The plan has clearly defined targets and includes monitoring and accountability frameworks.

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