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Ready-to-use therapeutic food dispatched to combat the growing crisis

The Principal Secretary (PS) of the State Department for Public Health and Professional Standards Mary Muthoni flagged off 3597 cartons of ready-to-use therapeutic food nutritional supplements in a move to combat the escalating crisis of acute malnutrition in Turkana County.

Speaking Friday at Afya House in Nairobi the PS highlighted the global impact of malnutrition on health, revealing that 45% of deaths among children under 5 years of age are attributed to undernutrition.

She emphasized the far-reaching consequences of malnutrition, including lower education achievement and cognitive development in childhood, leading to long-term impairments such as an elevated risk of chronic diseases and diminished economic status and productivity.

According to a food security and nutrition situation assessment conducted in July 2023, approximately 945,610 children aged between 6-59 months in Kenya are acutely malnourished due to prolonged drought conditions marked by five consecutive failed rain seasons since 2021.

“Among these children, 23% are malnourished and need treatment with ready-to-use therapeutic food,” Muthoni stated.

She further revealed that 2,000,786 people, constituting 17% of the population, are grappling with high acute malnutrition and urgently require intervention. Turkana County, in particular, faces a significant challenge, with 103,322 children aged between 6-59 months requiring immediate treatment.

The PS also said that her State Department, in collaboration with UNICEF, is taking proactive measures to address this crisis.

“The ministry is flagging off 3597 cartons of ready-to-use therapeutic food valued at 27,876,000 to 177 health facilities in Turkana and 1,447 cartons to 69 facilities in Baringo County,” she explained.

“These supplies will be effective in providing treatment for 5,044 children suffering from acute malnutrition in the counties,” Muthoni affirmed.

She assured that through the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA), they have dispatched 1,142 cartons to 141 health facilities in other parts of the country, aiming to treat 356 affected children.

By Cynthia Cherotich and Damaris Munyao

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