Thousands of Kenyan children facing malnutrition as drought bites

drought looms in Pokot as rains fail again

Over 400,000 children in the country are acutely malnourished and need urgent intervention with more than 60,000 at risk of dying from drought-related hunger in the arid and semi-arid regions (ASAL), a report by a consortium of non-governmental organization and county governments has revealed.

The report shows that Turkana and Marsabit are in a ‘very critical condition’ and in need of urgent treatment from malnutrition, with more than 70,000 children, aged between 6 months and 5 years, now at risk of dying from drought-related hunger.

According to the report, Mandera County recorded 63, 000 cases followed by Turkana County with 54,371 cases reported. Surprisingly, Nairobi County is third on the list with 44, 509 cases of acute malnutrition.

Other regions affected include North Horr in Marsabit County, East Pokot in Baringo County, Samburu, West Pokot, Garissa, Wajir, and Laikipia Counties. The prolonged drought experienced in earlier parts of this year has been cited as the main trigger of the situation.

UNICEF and respective county governments in the ASAL region say the overall nutrition situation is of great concern, calling on the national government to prioritize the drought response. This, they say, is expected to worsen in most counties as the anticipated food security situation worsens.

The survey also reveals that nearly 40,000 pregnant and nursing women across Kenya are malnourished, a 20 per cent increase from last year.

The government had in March this year introduced cash transfers to households mainly in the regions affected. But despite this push, many households aren’t meeting their daily recommended food requirements.

The groups recommend among others the scaling up of screening and treatment, enhanced mobilization and community engagement and scale up Blanket Supplementary Feeding Programme as well as speedy resumption of relief food supply.

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Story By Emmanuel Cheboit
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