Kwale County launches maternal, child nutrition program
A four-year Maternal and Child Nutrition Program has been launched in Kwale County. The programme is aimed at improving the nutritional status of pregnant and lactating women and children of the ages of below five years and seeks to support communities in selecting locally available nutritious foods for their households.
The program, which will be implemented on three thematic areas of nutrition resilience, enhanced health system strengthening and improved evidence based advocacy seeks to withstand the impact of shocks such as drought, floods, unreliable rains, unemployment and food price hikes.
According to the patron of the programme Christine Mvurya, the focus of the programme is to help strengthen health services, especially for children and women, and provide pregnant women and mothers of young children with critical knowledge to ensure that they give their children the best possible start in life, especially during the first 1000 days.
“Good nutrition is important to a pregnant woman who will result in delivery of a healthy baby,” she stressed.
Mrs Mvurya further urged pregnant women to visit clinics to reduce child mortalities.
Kwale County CEC in charge of health Dr. Athuman Chiguzo said that underweight children risk being retards.
“Malnutrition is widespread in Kenya, and is seen as a silent killer. As many as 19,000 children’s lives are lost every year, because they are underweight, the main factors contributing to malnutrition are multifaceted and complex,” Chiguzo said.
According to Kwale County Health department, statics show that 77.2% of women give birth at homes. It also shows that child mortality rate is at 149 deaths out of 1,000 live births.
High poverty rates, poor water and sanitation situation, inadequate access to quality nutritious diets and poor health seeking behavior are fated as some of the key contributing factors to malnutrition in Kwale County.
The program is part of a wider regional programme titled Supporting the Horn of Africa Resilience and targets Kilifi, Kwale, Tana River, Kitui, Marsabit, Turkana, Samburu, Wajir and Mandera Counties.
The program is funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented in conjunction with the Government of Kenya and Kwale County Government in partnership with UNICEF and other nongovernmental organizations.
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