More effort needed to kill malnutrition in Kenya
07 December 2015, 21:07
Nairobi - Senior government officials and nutrition experts as
well as civil society organizations from East Africa on Monday called
for concerted efforts to end malnutrition in all its forms on the
The officials and experts, who met in Nairobi for the release of the
global report on nutrition, resolved to create a political environment
for reduction of malnutrition and ensure improved coverage of
high-impact nutrition interventions.
Speaking at the launch of the Global Nutrition Report 2015 (GNR) and
the GNR Africa Brief, Kenya's Principal Secretary for Health, Nicholas
Muraguri hailed the progress achieved so far, but called for enhanced
collective action from all stakeholders including government, donor
organizations and the private sector, to endeavour to end malnutrition
entirely by 2030.
"Every child in Africa has a right to basic nutrition, which if
properly implemented at all levels, could reduce the levels of
associated illness, incapacity and premature death," Muraguri said.
According to the report, progress in tackling malnutrition in East
Africa, and on the continent as a whole, is mixed with both encouraging
progress as well as shortcomings in evidence.
Only one country, Kenya, is on course to hit all 5 of the World
Health Assembly nutrition targets and Ghana is on course to hit 4.
Factors of success include a combination of government commitment,
effective nutrition programmes, and general poverty reduction.
Other countries, such as Uganda and Burundi, as well as Algeria,
Benin, Liberia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe, are making significant progress,
being on track for three of five indicators.
It also reports that in Uganda the rate of child stunting (where
children are too short for their age from under nutrition) has fallen
from 48 percent in 1988 to 34 percent in 2012, and Tanzania reduced its
rate from 44 percent to 35 percent in the ten years to 2014.
The experts agreed that despite the recent progress in ending
malnutrition with a number of bright spots across the continent, it
remains a major barrier to development in many African nations.
The participants resolved to encourage sectors supportive of
nutrition improvement to become active drivers, implementing policies to
create healthy food environments, and allocate more funding to scale up
Kenya's Head of Nutrition and Dietetics Unit, Gladys Mugambi called
on the national and county governments to invest more resources in
nutrition, in order to reverse the malnutrition trends.
"While Kenya requires more than 700 million U.S. dollars to implement
her five-year National Nutrition Action Plan, the sad reality is that
nutrition is scarcely featured in the national and county budgets. We
therefore must prioritize nutrition to save millions of children who
cannot reach their full potential due to malnutrition," Mugambi said.
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