The rise in malnutrition rates in Migori County has raised concerns among officials in the county government as it has been hit by a lack of enough food supplements.
The malnutrition burden in the county, which has been termed to be significantly high between the years 2020 and 2021 alone, has seen the county record about 8, 000 cases of malnourished children.
The most affected areas include Uriri, Nyatike, Kuria East and Rongo sub-counties.
Rusana noted that in recent years, the supply of nutrition commodities from the national government to Migori County has been inconsistent and inadequate to meet the county’s demands.
Furthermore, the county secretary noted that there was a need for the county government to invest more funds in procuring nutrition commodities to bridge the deficit in the food supplement supply, especially now that there were increasing cases of malnutrition.
He spoke during the distribution of a Sh30 million food supplement donation for children with acute malnutrition aged under five years by the Lwala Community Alliance yesterday.
The Sh30 million food supplements, “Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods,” will aid in the fight against malnutrition and support treatment of acute malnutrition in children under five years of age within the country.
Inadequate nutritional commodities in the county are said to have hindered efforts towards managing malnutrition cases within the county.
Ms. Doreen Awino, system director for the Lwala community, said that they are able to detect and manage malnutrition complications as early as is feasible, through building the capacity of community health workers (CHWs) who will be key in the distribution of the food supplements.
According to Awino, malnutrition has increased the cost of healthcare, diminished productivity and slowed economic growth.
She further noted that HIV prevalence in the country has increased the need for nutrition supplements for people living with HIV who are at high risk of malnutrition.
Migori County has been placed among the top five counties with a high HIV prevalence rate, hence raising the need for food supplements for the group.
The food supplements, which will be distributed across the county’s eight sub-counties, will help to increase access to nutrition supplements amongst children and people with malnutrition challenges.
The commodities after distribution are intended to last for a period of six months, as a similar donation will be made within the next year.
Health CEC Kephas Nyamita said county health workers will also be involved in conducting household screening, referrals, and linkages.
As a stop-gap measure, the Lwala community alliance has also provided data capture and reporting tools.
The tools will be distributed to over 79 health facilities to aid in nutrition commodity tracking and accountability.
The county has so far employed several strategies to prevent new incidences of malnutrition through a multi-sector approach.
They include carrying out household nutrition education, the formation of mother-to-mother support groups, community food demonstrations, kitchen gardening, early detection of the malnourished and referral to health facilities by community health volunteers, among others.