Kilifi,KENYA: Kilifi County is third in malnutrition and stunting in Kenya, statistics done by the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey show.
The statistics also show that Kenya stands at 26% in terms of stunting and malnutrition.
Speaking during the launch of Kilifi County Nutrition action plan at the Pwani University on Tuesday, Ronald Mbunya, Kilifi county director of Nutrition, said the situation is alarming as Kilifi County stands at 39% in terms of stunting and Malnutrition of children.
He said the only Counties before Kilifi having the highest percentage of stunting and malnutrition in Kenya, are the likes of Kitui and West Pokot.
“According to the Kenya Demographic Health Survey of 2014 and the report that we have is that Kilifi is third in Kenya with 39% of children stunted,” Mbunya said.
“What does this mean? It means that our level of education will not improve because stunted children get affected in the brain which also stunts,” he added.
According to Mbunya, once a child is born he/she must be breastfed for six months without being given any other sort of food; so as to promote growth of the child due to the vitamin A obtained in the milk.
Janet Ntwiga, UNICEF Regional Nutrition Support Officer said the Nutrition Action Plan highlights measures and framework how to cub Malnutrition and stunting in Kilifi County for the period of five years between 2016 and 2021.
“We are happy that this document has highlighted what needs to be done to counter this problem that has caused poor development in the area following low education standards due to stunting that affects the brains of children,” Janet said.
United Nations Children’s Fund defines stunting as the percentage of children, aged 0 to 59 months, whose height for age is below minus two standard deviations (moderate and severe stunting) and minus three standard deviations (severestunting) from the median of the WHO Child Growth Standards.
Janet added that breast milk has minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and chlorine that are necessary at infancy for fast growth of the child.
“Breast milk is composed of fats, proteins, carbohydrates and some minerals in varying compositions that is appropriate for the young infants taking care of their developing digestive system.” said Janet.
The action plan has plotted the total funds required to counter the Nutrition problem to be sh 1.56 billion in the period of five years.
This comes as more than 200 people in Kilifi County are facing starvation especially in Ganze, Magarini, Kaloleni and some parts of Malindi sub-counties.