Taita Taveta County unveils four-year vitamin motion plan – Kenya Information Company

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The County Government of Taita Taveta has launched the County Nutrition Action Plan (CNAP) 2020-2024 to address myriad nutrition issues in the County.

The CNAP is the first ever such document to effectively address the challenges of malnutrition, with a special emphasis on children, pregnant and lactating women.

Taita Taveta County Governor’s wife, Stella Samboja (2nd right) with other health officials, unveil the CNAP in Voi. Photo by Raphew F Mukuyia

Speaking during the launch in Voi over the weekend, the County Governor’s wife, Stellah Samboja, noted that poor diet and morbidity have contributed to the county’s poor nutrition standards.

She noted that other socio-cultural and economic aspects, also directly or indirectly affected the nutritional status of communities in the region.

“The burden of malnutrition in Taita Taveta is manifested by stunting, wasting, underweight, micronutrient deficiencies and diet-related non-communicable diseases. Other than these, persistent drought, flash floods and inadequate care of vulnerable groups have a great impact on household food insecurity,” she said.

According to the Taita Taveta Health and Nutrition Survey of 2016, the prevalence of stunted children in the County stood at 25.3 per cent. 5.6 per cent of the children were wasted and 11.5 per cent were found to be underweight.

Ms. Samboja recognized that despite these numbers being slightly lower than the national average figure, three out of every 10 children below five years in the region were at risk of never exploiting their full potential, due to effects of malnutrition.

Statistics from the Kenya Demographic Health Survey (KDHS) of 2014, show that out of 7.22 million children under the age of five in the country, 1.9 million are stunted (26 percent), 290, 000 are wasted (4 percent) and 794, 200 (11 percent) are underweight.

Pauline Mugo, the County Nutrition Coordinator, stated that the CNAP provided a clear direction in accelerating and scaling up efforts towards the elimination of malnutrition as a public health problem in the County.

“Nutrition predisposes people to non-communicable diseases later on in life. This is why this becomes a very important topic as we strive to tackle the malnutrition problem in our County,” she noted.

She added that the CNAP will boost resource mobilization as well as monitoring the progress of nutrition specific interventions in the county.

County Executive Committee (CEC) Member for Health, John Mwakima, acknowledged the effort of various stakeholders involved in development of the plan.

He emphasized the importance of the CNAP, stating that malnutrition holds a major threat in perpetuating a cycle of poverty and economic stagnation in the County.

“Malnutrition can have serious life-threatening consequences, more so to children and even adults, hence becoming a critical cause for underperformance in social and economic development,” he said.

Under the key pillar of food security, the National Government developed CNAPS to address county-specific nutrition issues and propose interventions appropriate for the local context, as guided by the Kenya National Nutrition Action Plan (KNAP) 2018 – 2022.

The Taita Taveta CNAP is in line with the national goal of attaining optimal nutrition for healthier and better quality life, as well as improved productivity for the country’s accelerated social and economic growth.

By Raphew F Mukuyia