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February 22, 2019

Kenya on course to eliminate malnutrition - CS Kariuki

Health CS Sicily Kariuki speaks during the 32nd ordinary session of the Assembly of the African Union. /COURTESY
Health CS Sicily Kariuki speaks during the 32nd ordinary session of the Assembly of the African Union. /COURTESY

Health CS Sicily Kariuki has challenged African governments to invest in the "grey matter infrastructure" to eliminate malnutrition and spur economic prosperity.

The CS spoke on Tuesday when she represented President Uhuru Kenyatta at the launch of the Africa Continent Nutrition scorecard officiated by King Letsie III of Lesotho at the 32nd ordinary session of the Assembly of the African Union.

“Kenya has made significant progress in reducing the prevalence of stunting, underweight and wasting from 35 per cent, 16 per cent and seven per cent in 2009 to 26 per cent, 11 per cent and four per cent in 2014," Kariuki said.

"This improvement made Kenya to be recognised globally as one of the countries on track to achieving World Health Assembly targets for nutrition," she added.

 Kariuki said interventions such as maternal nutrition and education, vitamin and mineral supplementation to mothers and children, private sector involvement and mandatory fortification of wheat and maize flour with multiple micronutrients have led to improved nutrition in Kenya. 

 Kenya is also providing supplementary and therapeutic foods to the sick in particular those with HIV and the introduction of cash transfers programmes as part of social protection. 

“These achievements are attributed to the implementation of a common multi-sectoral framework, the National Nutrition Action Plan (2012-2017) a costed plan that guided implementation of high impact nutrition interventions,” she said. 

Kenya launched the national food composition tables, Kenya food recipes and the national guidelines for healthy diets and physical activity in 2018, which are key in the promotion of diversified and healthy diets.

The nation is also set to launch its Cost of Hunger in Africa study on February 14.

According to statistics, malnutrition is unacceptably high in Africa, with 58 million or 36 per cent of children under the age of five chronically undernourished (suffering from stunting), and 13 million or 8.5 per cent of children acutely undernourished (suffering from wasting).

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