Nutrition stakeholders want more investments to address the triple burden of malnutrition in the country.
They said that poor management of nutrition has led to undernutrition and overnutrition.
This has led to stunting, wasting, underweight, micronutrient deficiencies resulting in overweight, obesity and other diet-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
The Acting Director-General of health Patrick Amoth noted that malnutrition impedes the progress towards achieving the global, regional and national social and economic development goals.
“In Kenya, malnutrition is a leading cause of infant and child morbidity, mortality and hospital admission, a situation that urgently requires our interventions as stakeholders,” Amoth observed. He was speaking during the first day of the three symposiums on nutrition.
Amoth said the perennial drought, particularly in arid and semi-arid counties has adversely affected the most vulnerable groups especially children under five years of age, pregnant and lactating women resulting in an increased risk of malnutrition, illness and mortality.
“The Ministry in collaboration with the affected counties has activated the nutrition response which includes the supply of the nutrition lifesaving commodities, nutrition screening and integrated outreaches,” said Amoth.
Martha Nyagaya, Country Director, Nutrition International, told the forum that there is a need to build resilient systems for recovery.
“It is not just short-term technical interventions we need to review health systems, food systems, education, social protection, WASH, and cross-cutting themes. These thematic areas are a reflection of how multi-sectoral the issue we are dealing with is. In fact, beyond sectors, there is a need for sustainable mobilization of resources, coordination, policy, surveillance,” she said.
According to Abiud Omwega from UNICEF Kenya, the symposium provides an opportunity for the country to reflect on the progress of the actions made to improve the nutrition status of children in Kenya.
“I challenge us to use this symposium to identify evidence-based and scalable interventions to improve children’s diets. Not every strategy works but together we can develop practical solutions,” observed Omwega.