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Tana residents urged to shun open defecation

Community Health Volunteers (CHV) have been urged to educate the community they serve, on best nutrition and hygiene practices as it emerges 50 per cent of the Tana River population use open defecation.

“All the diarrheal diseases we get in our hospitals are greatly contributed to by open defecation. I am asking CHVs to train people on the importance of using toilets,” said Omari Makopa, county nutritionist, during a community dialogue with the CHVs.

CHVs from Tana River and Tana Delta Sub-Counties were trained for 13 weeks by the International Committee for the Development of Peoples (CISP) civil society in partnership with the department of health.

Makopa disclosed that Tana has a Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) of 14.3 per cent according to a survey conducted in February. Due to the ongoing drought, the figures have increased due to the food crisis.

National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) notes in its October Drought Early Warning bulletin that the number of children at risk of malnutrition has increased to 28.7 per cent compared to 28.50 per cent in September.

The upsurge is attributed to a reduction in milk production and consumption at household levels coupled with lower purchasing power and scarcity of vegetables.

The County Nutritionist revealed that 21.2 per cent of children born in the county have stunted growth that affects the cognitive development of children.

He said; “The effect of stunting is that if a child reaches two years, it’s irreversible. The child will live with that condition for the rest of his life. Let’s make sure we educate each other about nutritional issues for the first 1000 days after the child’s birth as it is important for the child’s health.”

The County Nutritionist advised expectant mothers to visit clinics for antenatal clinics to prevent the loss of a mother’s life during delivery.

“Fifty per cent of pregnant women who come to the clinic are anemic. If you do not have blood during delivery, you are endangering your life. No expectant mother should die when they give birth, but we lose them because they don’t visit clinics and suffer malnutrition,” said Makopa.

He added through community dialogues, CHVs will help to reduce the challenges they are facing in health centers.

By Sadik Hassan

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