Murang’a County in partnership with Nutrition International is set to use Sh. 40million to boost provision of vitamin ‘A’ supplement among children under five years in the next financial year.
The County Director of Health Services, Dr. Winfred Kanyi elaborated that Sh. 20 million will be factored in the next financial year budget and the remaining amount be provided for by a non-governmental organization.
In an interview with KNA , Kanyi said already two Sub-counties have benefited from the programme championed by the County Health Department in partnership with Nutrition International organization which saw boost of vitamin ‘A’ coverage from 20 to 80 percent.
The two Sub-counties, Murang’a South and Kandara have improved their Vitamin ‘A’ coverage following various measures which enabled all children between six and 59 months get the supplement.
“We are working out to increase vitamin A coverage in the remaining six sub counties in next financial year. We have partnered with Nutrition International in the programme to boost provision of the supplement,” stated Kanyi.
Before 2018, the Director said in some counties provision of vitamin ‘A’ was below 20 percent but after concerted efforts the coverage went up to more than 80 percent in Murang’a South and Kandara Sub-counties.
“Despite the importance of the vitamin among young children, some parents were reluctant to present their children to be given the Vitamin,” observed Kanyi.
The County Nutrition Officer, Ms. Nancy Mwangi observed that in 2018 the County embarked in a serious campaign targeting to ensure all children below five years get Vitamin ‘A’ supplement.
“We opted to use Community Health Volunteers to reach every child in the village and also targeted children at Early Childhood Education centers,” added Mwangi.
Mwangi underscored the need of Vitamin ‘A’ among younger children, saying the supplement is commonly known as immune booster.
Children aged between six months to five years, she added, need to be given the supplement twice a year.
“Foods given to children in most times lack vitamin ‘A’ component, that’s why there is provision of the capsules of the supplement to help the children grow up well and healthy. Without vitamin ‘A’, a child may have weak bones,” she added.
Mwangi said provision of the vitamin supplement from established health centres has greatly helped the two Sub-counties to register high percentage of the coverage.
“Community Health Volunteers have ensured every child in their areas of jurisdiction has received the Vitamin twice a year. We are also educating mothers on foods to give children so as to ensure they have the vitamin,” noted the nutritionist.
Nutrition International have been working in eight counties in the country since 2018 towards boosting of the provision of Vitamin ‘A’ among children.
The organization has partnered with Murang’a County Government to attain 100 percent vitamin ‘A’ provision in all the eight Sub-counties.
By Bernard Munyao