By Claire Wanja
Health Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Cleopa Mailu has cited poor nutrition as one of the key contributors of the increasing rate of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), and called upon line ministries to improve nutrition security in the country without which, malnutrition will remain a challenge.
Addressing the delagates during the launch of the Global Nutrition Report 2016, by H.E First lady Margaret Kenyatta, the CS emphasized that nutrition values requires concerted efforts from all stakeholders, including prioritization from community to the national level.
He reiterated the importance of nutrition in both prevention and management of other diseases, adding that improving nutrition is one of the core commitments of his ministry.
The CS noted that although Kenya has made tremendous steps in ensuring that nutrition security is realized, the country still faces a number of challenges at county level that include: insufficient resources, limited high level engagement for nutrition and inadequate nutrition staff in some counties.
Dr. Mailu observed that ‘’Scaling-up the eleven (11) key nutrition-specific interventions in all regions of Kenya would cost $76 million in public investments annually, and produce tremendous health benefits with 455,000 disability-adjusted life years averted, 5,000 lives saved, and over 200,000 cases of stunting averted. This is compelling evidence that serves to help us understand why we need to invest in nutrition more than ever before.’’
The Global Nutrition Report reflects a number of actions that countries have undertaken towards ending malnutrition by the year 2030, thereby contributing to achievement of the World Health Assembly targets and the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (2014), indicates that more than a quarter (26 percent) of all children under 5 are stunted, while 11 percent are underweight and 4 percent wasted.
Additionally, the 2015 NCD Step Survey shows that 27 percent of Kenyans are either overweight or obese, with the percentage being significantly higher in women than men.