Turkana County Government and its partners among them UNICEF and USAID have launched a nutrition action plan which will guide implementation of nutrition interventions by the government.
Speaking when he presided over the launch at Ekaales Centre on Tuesday, area Governor Josphat Nanok said the plan would help address the acute malnutrition which stands at 26.5 percent and still above World Health Organisation emergency threshold.
Nanok added that the nutrition plan was aimed at achieving better nutrition for residents of Turkana and improving the health of the population, to ensure enhanced productivity for better economic growth.
“The second generation of the Turkana County Nutrition Action Plan for 2019-2023 underscores the importance of nutrition for a healthy community and summarises key result areas which my administration plans to invest in for enriched nutrition outcomes,” Nanok said.
He cited food distribution, livestock off-take, integrated management of acute malnutrition, provision of seeds and livestock feeds as some of the measures taken by his government since 2013 to improve the lives of area residents.
The governor announced that the government was allocating 40 percent of its annual budget to key sectors of Agriculture, Water, Health and Education with the investments to support the food and nutrition security sector.
“Food and nutrition security is one of the five transformative development priorities for my second term. We are working closely with the private sector on strategies to create new value chains in various sectors: agriculture, livestock, poultry and fishing.
“Laying the foundation for commercial agriculture, livestock and fishing sector will be key to unlocking our potential, address unemployment, invest to increase herds for pastoralists and empower them with purchasing power to ultimately reduce malnutrition and poverty,” he said.
Nanok appreciated efforts by partners to develop the plan and commitment to its implementation in the effort to end malnutrition. He promised that the County Government will lead initiatives to approach for a healthier future.
The County Assembly Speaker, Ekitela Lokaale assured of the County Assembly’s support in passage of legislation and policy framework, adding it had already passed the County Community Health Services Act (2018), with the Health Administration Bill under legislation.
The Unicef Deputy Representative, Jean Lokenga said that the agency was committed to working with the County Government to eliminate hunger and malnutrition. He also promised to provide support in the implementation of the nutrition action plan.
Others who spoke were County Secretary, Peter Eripete, Lopur MCA and Chair of the County Assembly’s Health Services and Sanitation Committee, Evans Ekai, County Executives Jane Ajele (Health) and Philip Aemun (Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries); Head of the National Division of Nutrition and Dietetics, Veronica Kerogo and USAID Afya Timiza Chief of Party Gilbert Wangalwa.
By Peter Gitonga