Nairobi, KENYA: Kenya on Tuesday joined four other countries that simultaneously launched the Global Nutrition Report 2016.
The report that was also launched in South Africa, Sweden, the USA and India explains that Kenya is progressing; as it is the only country in the world that has shown progress in all the five World Health Assembly (WHA) nutrition targets.
“More than a quarter (26%) of children below 5 years are stunted while 11% are underweight, 4% are wasted. Kenya ranks 5th in Sub Saharan Africa in breast feeding prevalence,” said Cabinet Secretary for Health Dr. Cleopa Mailu.
However there are still nutritional disparities in the nutritional status across different counties.
“Policies in Kenya are elaborate to eliminate malnutrition. However people should know that these plans exist. Because health has been devolved then county governments should set aside budgets for nutrition,” said Grainne Moloney ,Chief, Nutrition Section from UNICEF.
Ms. Moloney advised county governments to prioritize issues of nutrition.
‘Improving nutrition is one of the core commitments of my ministry as it plays a big role both prevention and management of diseases. This can be reflected in the Kenya health Sector Strategic Plan (KHSSP) and in the Kenya National Nutrition Action Plan (2012-2017),” said Dr. Mailu.
Parliamentary Health Committee chairperson Dr. Rachel Nyamai said that Parliament has passed several laws that support nutrition in Kenya like Nutritionists and Dieticians Act and lately the health Bill which is at the Senate level.
The First Lady Margaret Kenyatta who is the patron of the scaling-up nutrition movement, said Kenya’s National strategy for the National Nutrition Action Plan both demonstrate Kenya’s national choice and consciousness on the importance of preserving and advancing the health of all Kenyans.
“To end malnutrition there is need for proper policy direction, national investment on the area of nutrition and awareness especially on the need for exclusive breastfeeding. The burden of malnutrition robs our children from experiencing their full potential and it affects families, communities and societies,” concluded the First Lady.