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West Pokot receives food supplement donations

West Pokot County received 1,200 cartons of healthy nutritional food supplements (Plumpy nuts), worth Sh10 million for children aged between six (6) months to 59 months, suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

The donations were made by ‘Action Against Hunger’ organization, a global humanitarian organization that deals with causes and effects of hunger in the Country.

Plumpy nuts is a nutritional formula that is rich in vital vitamins, minerals and calories that  helps in  fighting malnutrition, especially among children suffering from severe undernourishment  since it helps them regain to a healthy weight, within a few weeks after use.

The ‘Action Against Hunger’ West Pokot Program Manager, Salome Tsindori, said the Plumpy nuts is health nutritional food supplements, donated to the County Government Ministry of Health Department meant for children aged between six (6) months to 59 months suffering from severe acute malnutrition, citing that the Plumpy nuts are ready to be used as therapeutic foods.

“We have decided as an organization to intervene by supplying this ready to use therapeutic food to children who are suffering from severe acute malnutrition, because it will help to boost their health within the shortest time possible,” Program Manager said.

Tsindori said that as an organization they are working with the County Government and community, by ensuring children are free from malnutrition, noting that in the recent past, many children have been affected.

She called for urgent action to be taken against the health of all children affected by severe acute malnutrition.

Addressing KNA during the handing over of the donation to the Health Department, Tsindori said that as a humanitarian organization, they have a responsibility to ensure communities prevent malnutrition because this makes children delay in their physical growth, lower intellectual quotient, greater behavioural problems, deficient social skills and susceptibility to contracting diseases.

The Programme Manager further said that children suffering from severe acute malnutrition need to be treated well at early stages by giving them therapeutic foods that will help boosts their growth.

She encouraged all mothers with children below six (6) months to have their children exclusively breastfed or if necessary a specific regimen, with adapted therapeutic products to be prescribed for their children by clinicians, so as to help prevent severe acute malnutrition.

‘‘We really encourage all mothers with children below six months to exclusively breastfeed their children, we encourage mother to mother support groups for mothers with children and those who are pregnant to sensitise each other on how to breastfeed children, how to provide proper maternal nutrition to children and how to feed their children.

“I urge all mothers to ensure they feed their children with diverse foods since this is of more important to children’s health,” she said.

Health County Executive Committee for Health and Sanitation (CEC), Ms. Christine Apokereng, thanked the ‘Action Against Hunger’ for their good gesture, noting that the County solely depended on the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA) for supply.

Apokereng said that children need food rich in vitamins, minerals, and calories since they are essential nutrients for a child’s healthy growth and development and that, should not miss in everyone’s meal.

“Preventing and treating severe acute malnutrition is critical to child survival and their long term development. It is good to prevent it by ensuring children eat food rich in nutrients that is good for them since, it will help make them grow and develop well,” the County CEC noted.

She further said that 1,200 cartons of plumpy nuts supply will be used for a period of five months before they order another batch from KEMSA.

Apokereng noted the cases of malnourishment has increased in the County at large and that it is characterized by low milk in the households, loss of jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic and encourages residents to ensure they feed their children with balanced diet, so as to help prevent malnutrition in children.

The CEC for health and sanitation noted that all food supplements received from Action Against Hunger organization will be distributed across all wards in West Pokot County to all children who suffer from severe acute malnutrition.

She noted there is a need of taking decisive action, on how pregnant, breastfeeding mothers and children who are vulnerable, can be protected from severe acute malnutrition.

“The effects of chronic malnutrition in children aged five years and below is irreversible if it is diagnosed late.There is a need for early recognition and diagnosis for a proper treatment to be administered to the patient before it is too late,” said Apakoreng.

Apakoreng further stressed that, West Pokot County takes the issues of health seriously, and they are ready to prevent deaths that malnutrition can cause to its people or any other diseases that are preventable, and she lauded the efforts by ‘Action Against Hunger’ in supporting the county health systems in fighting malnutrition.

By Anthony Melly and Robert Kiprop

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