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Nutrition Interventions in ASAL areas

Despite improvements in food security during the year 2010, malnutrition rates have not declined accordingly in some pastoral areas of North Eastern Province.

The country in particular continues to record high levels of malnutrition particularly in Arid and Semi Arid areas as human resource constraints within the health system continue to hamper health and nutrition response in hard hit areas.

The Global Acute Malnutrition rate –a term used to measure malnutrition in children exceeds 25 percent in Mandera West District, and exceeds the U.N. World Health Organization-designated 15 percent emergency threshold.  Mandera Central, Wajir South, and Wajir East districts are also in this category.

In its assessment of malnutrition situation in the country, UNICEF says Isiolo, Marsabit and Samburu will be the focus of an adopted 12 High Impact Nutrition Interventions package in the country which aims to scale up the situation.

The full scale-up planned for Isiolo, Marsabit and Samburu is based on malnutrition status of under five year old children and aims at documenting lessons to be learnt and recommendations to inform effective Nutrition Interventions scale up in other districts.

According to emergency programme priorities lined up to the end of the year, it is expected that up to 50 per cent of acutely malnourished children, as well as pregnant and lactating mothers will have accessed quality treatment at health facility and community levels.

Statistics shows that as of the beginning of September 2010 since January 2010, 18,509 severely malnourished children, 79,183 moderately malnourished children and 26,088 pregnant and lactating women had been admitted into therapeutic and supplementary feeding programs in the ASALs

Compared to the same period in 2009 this indicates a 52.3% increase in children admitted of acute malnutrition and 52.7% increase in admitted pregnant and lactating women, the increase is attributed to high program coverage and adoption of new WHO guidelines.

Currently, 5 leading districts in caseload of acutely mal-nourished children are Turkana, Kajiado and Tana River, Samburu and Marsabit in that order.

In the second and third quarters of the year, the fluctuations of those acutely malnourished, representing new admits has been as a result of changes in coverage of Intergrated Management of Acute malnutrition services and reporting rates.

For instance, a decline in new admissions of severely malnourished was observed in the month of August 2010 representing a 22% decrease as compared to July 2010. This was mainly attributed to a slight reduction in re-porting rates and general improvement in food security situation.

In the same month, there were observed significant increases in Moyale, Yatta, Makueni and Baringo mainly due to increase in health facility coverage.

For moderately malnourished children there was a 31% decline in new admissions mainly in Turkana, Wajir, Isiolo, Makueni and Laikipia due to decline in reporting from the health facilities.

Nutrition Information Working Group under the ministry of public health further says

households in these areas spend up to 75 % of their income on staple foods, feel the impact of inflation of basic food commodities by 133% and cope by reducing the size and frequency of meals.

By Ngigi Kamau, Women eNews Kenya Correspondent

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One Response

  1. […] Nutrition Interventions in ASAL areas (ladyenews.wordpress.com) […]

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