Counties asked to include nutrition funds in their budgets

Counties Editor's Pick Governance Kakamega

There is a need for the County Governments to set aside enough nutrition and food intervention funds in their County Integrated Development Programmes (CIDPs) in order to ensure sustainable healthy communities.

Dr. Emily Tushomee, USAID Advancing Nutrition official speaking during sector wise nutrition champions training forum in Lugari, said since nutrition is a key component in development like other sectors.

Tushomee who is Nutritionist Sensitive Advisor in USAID Advancing Nutrition Programme noted that County Governments have set aside funds mostly in education, health, infrastructure unlike nutrition, which is given little attention, yet it forms part of development.

The nutrition expert warned that continued disregarding of nutrition funding was negatively impacting promotion of nutrition in Counties for instance Kakamega County, which has one of the highest malnutrition figures.

“Normally enough funds are put in sectors like education, health and infrastructure, but most of the time nutrition matters are not emphasized and yet they remain a key component of development,” Tushomee wondered.

Tushomee noted that Non-Government Governmental Organisations like USAID mostly who fund nutrition programmes work within given periods for instance two or four years.

She said NGO’s efforts to boost nutrition in counties collapse after the end of their assigned periods because there was no legalized funding framework from County Governments to continue supporting NGOs work efforts.

The health official said USAID Advancing Nutrition was determined to train sector wise nutrition champions within Kakamega County from departments of education, water, agriculture and health, who will link the nutrition promoters, community and their leaders on the importance of nutrition.

“Nutrition champions are expected to engage the leaders so that when they are in decision making on budgeting, they should also include components of nutrition,” Tushomee revealed.

Racheal Kavile, Nutritionist from Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University said there was need for a multi-sectoral approach in order to alleviate multi-nutrition in Kakamega County, which remains high despite the region receiving enough rains compared to other dry counties.

On her part, Maureen Nandwa, Nutritionist in charge of Lugari and Likuyani Sub-Counties also warned that malnutrition among children leads to serious health issues among children which includes stunted growth.

The three days’ sector wise nutrition champion training in a Lugari hotel forum involved identified departments from Sub-Counties of Lugari and Likuyani.

Each of the 12 Sub-Counties in Kakamega County will have at least 5 trained nutrition champions according to Dr. Tushomee.

The programme is supported by USAID Advancing Nutrition Programme together with Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University, which are also supporting reproductive health in Nyanza and Western counties.

By Geoffrey Satia

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