Murang’a County government in partnership with Nutrition International (NI) organization have jointly embarked on a five-year Action Plan that will see improved nutrition status among residents.
The devolved administration has already set aside Sh21 million in this financial year to facilitate implementing programmes aimed to attain nutrition security and wellbeing of residents of different ages and diversities in the county.
The County Executive Member (CEC) for health and sanitation Mr. Joseph Mbai said they were committed to provide required leadership to coordinate and implement the Action plan while ensuring that each resident has the right to health and right nutrition.
Mbai observed that due to poor feeding, the county has in the recent past recorded high cases of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) especially diabetes and hypertension. He therefore underscored the need to educate the locals on proper feeding to curtail the increase of the NCDs amongst them.
“Murang’a being a county considered as a food secure, poor nutrition can be attributed to increase of diabetes and hypertension. This Action Plan will help us to educate our people on proper feeding in order to curb these diseases,” said Mbai. He added that the Nutrition International will also factor an equal or more funds to facilitate implementation of the Action plan.
The CEC said during this time when the country is faced by Covid-19 pandemic, nutrition needs to be given priority to help manage spread of the virus. He warned locals who have relaxed in observing Covid -19 protocols that the country is not yet out of danger posed by coronavirus.
Nutrition International has been implementing a nutrition programme in Murang’a since 2010 especially giving children Vitamin A supplement.
In a speech read on his behalf by Mr. Edgar Okoth, NI country director Martha Nyaganya revealed that the organization had so far spent over Sh. 50 million to implement the programmes aimed to boosting nutrition in the county. He averred that they will also increase more funding which will see effective implementation of the 3-year action plan.
“Nutrition International has been working closely with the County government of Murang’a since 2010 to help improve the nutritional status of its population,” observed the NI country director.
Okoth observed that 1 in every 5 of children in Murang’a are malnourished or stunted. “Nearly one out of 10 children are underweight and only 33 percent of children access a minimum acceptable diet while 50 percent of women make the recommended four antenatal care visits during their pregnancy. This is unacceptable,” he stated.
The Action Plan, Okoth said, is a clear and powerful signal of the county’s leadership commitment to make nutrition a priority, noting that malnutrition has a cost, direct and indirect, to individuals, families and nations.
“Cost is incurred through increased cases of illness, impaired learning potential, mortality and eventually reduced productivity. In fact, nutrition is key to addressing NCDS, such as diabetes and cancer,” he added.
by Bernard Munyao