EMPHASIZING IMPORTANCE OF NUTRITION IN KENYA’S DEVELOPMENT AGENDA
Kenya is ranked no 18 globally in malnutrition and this is a crisis in the country that requires quick actions to address. Malnutrition is a condition that occurs when people consistently do not consume or absorb the right amounts and types of food and essential nutrients. This leads to poor physical growth and brain development among children preventing them from thriving and living up to their full potential. This also interferes with performance in school, the country’s future labour force the Gross Domestic Product and human development index. Globally, this contributes to nearly half of all child deaths, approximately more than 3 million children each year. According to the Ministry of Health, this translates to 45% of child deaths in the country as a result of poor nutrition.
The development of Kenya’s future generation lies in the hands of policy and decision makers. Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the health sector need to have a common goal on scaling up the work of proper nutrition in the country. They however also require more support from the government to be able to achieve sustainable development goals. KANCO organized a TICAD VI conference breakfast meeting on Friday 26th August with various stakeholders in the health sector ahead of its official opening. The goal of this breakfast meeting was to rally stakeholders in the health sector to push for more comprehensive nutrition efforts in Kenya at the TICAD VI conference if significant progress in better nutrition is to be achieved. KANCO’s Director, Mr Allan Ragi stated that it is important to work with governments and other CSOs so as to register significant gains and to sustain any progress made in achieving better nutrition levels.
In line with this, great efforts were seen at the TICAD VI with the launch of “Initiative for Food and Nutrition Security in Africa (IFNA)” by The Japan International corporation Agency (JICA). This is seen as a new framework for accelerating international/global efforts to alleviate hunger and malnutrition in the African Continent which will focus on implementing practical activities as well as advocacy work; synergy of multi-sectorial activities such as collaboration of agriculture, health and education sectors; evidence-based approach for rational decision-making and monitoring & evaluation; and mid/long terms vision to enhance resilience of the target groups while coping even with emergency aid.
Successfully addressing malnutrition in Kenya will save the lives of 50,000 children and is a more than worthy cause and investment on the future generation. As CSOs focus on tackling Malaria, HIV and TB especially with the latest funding announcements made during the TICAD VI conference, it is imperative that the issue of malnutrition is not overshadowed.