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MOH flags off therapeutic food to different ASAL counties

The Ministry of Health (MoE) has today flagged off the ready to use Therapeutic food (RUTF) donated by the World Health Organisation to Garissa, Tana River and Turkana counties.

Health Principal Secretary (PS) Dr. Josephine Mburu officially received a total of 5,000 cartons of RUTF valued at Sh. 26,389,440 which is adequate for the treatment of 10,000 children, between 6 to 59 months, who have severe acute malnutrition.

According to the Kenya Demographic Health survey, Mburu noted, stunting reduced from 26 per cent in 2014 to 18 per cent in 2022, underweight from 11 per cent to 10 per cent and wasting showed a marginal increase from 4 per cent to 5 per cent over the same period.

“Nearly 1.13 million children under 5 years were stunted, 315,066 were wasted and 630,132 were underweight in 2022,” added Mburu.

She pointed out that the main drivers of acute malnutrition are food insecurity resulting from cumulative effects of poor rainfall performance coupled with high food prices.

“Kenya is facing the worst and longest drought situation in the last 40 years due to cumulative failed rain seasons in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) leaving at least 4.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance,” stated Mburu.

The PS said that the commitment of the Government of Kenya is to eradicate the malnutrition crisis within five years, to increase access to early stimulation and learning and to prioritize an integrated package of services for children.

At the same time, Dr. Abdourahmane Diallo, World Health Organization (WHO) representative to Kenya said that malnutrition and diseases have a relationship whereby hungry children become sick more easily and the sick children become easily malnourished.

Diallo reiterated that WHO keeps in mind the long term effects of malnutrition. “The donation is set to treat malnourished children for around 2 months,” he said.

By Garvin Patrick 

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