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MOH collaborates with other partners to address malnutrition in Garissa

The Ministry of Health in collaboration with Garissa County government and a non-governmental organization, Terre des Hommes (TDH) have launched a nutrition response programme to curb malnutrition prevalence in children, pregnant and lactating mothers in Garissa County.

The program aims to address the nutrition and health needs of the vulnerable populations in the county as a result of the immediate drought emergency as well as strengthening community and facility level nutrition services and hygiene promotion.

According to Tom Omollo, UNICEF’s project manager in Garissa County, the nutrition situation among children in the county remains very critical as over 60,000 children are suffering from malnutrition, with 17,000 of them severely malnourished.

“The county government has been working very closely with other partners and United Nations agencies to be able to mount intervention measures to address the response to the cases of malnutrition,” Omollo said.

“Through this response, we have been able to reach many children. Last year alone, over 7000 malnourished children were treated as a result of partners’ collaborations. This year, we have been able to screen all children between 6 to 59 months and pregnant mothers,” he added.

Omollo said that due to the concerted efforts of all players in the sector, malnourished children and mothers identified in the screening process have been treated on site, with others referred to hospitals, thus making sure that no death has been reported as a result.

“We are expecting to see improvement from between 6 to 9 months, where every household will be able to access the healthcare needed and so we hope that all the partners will continue mounting this kind of response,” he said.

Garissa deputy county coordinator for nutrition Abdi Sheikh Mohamed said they have trained health workers in the county on malnutrition in order to enable them accurately manage the children at the community level.

“We are also engaging communities at the grassroots level with the help of community health units through dialogues, mother to mother groups, and outreach programmes to relay these messages so that we can reach everyone,” Mohamed said.

Community health workers at the grassroots level also train pregnant and lactating mothers on a healthy diet, where those with malnourished children are provided with plumpy nuts, nutrition supplements and porridge flour to help the children add weight and improve on their health.

By Erick Kyalo

 

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