Kenya on course to meet nutrition target

Kenya is the only country on course to meet all five World Health Assembly (WHA) maternal and child nutrition health targets by the year 2025, according to the Global Nutrition 2015 report for East Africa that was released in Nairobi yesterday.

In a space of three years since the WHA set the 2025 goals to improve under-nutrition, Kenya is lauded in the report for having made progress in improving nutrition outcomes for children, with a significant reduction in the national levels of stunting from 35 per cent in 2008 to 25.9 per cent in 2014.

At the same time, the country is commended in the report for working hard in reducing anemia in women of reproductive age to 25 per cent. WHA required that countries take this down by 50 per cent.

In 2012, governments agreed to reduce low birth weights in children by 30 per cent, and in the three-year duration, Kenya has improved the situation to 5. 6 per cent and rose exclusive breastfeeding numbers to 61.4 per cent, an 11 per cent more the WHA requirement of 50 per cent by 2025.

The country’s National Nutrition Action Plan 2012-2017 has been attributed in the report as one of the key strategies that saw childhood wasting and obesity come down to four per cent.

Of the 73 countries, only four others – Colombia, Ghana, Vanuatu and Vietnam – are on course for four targets. To achieve the five-year strategy, a budget of US$687 million (Sh70 billion) was drawn, out of which the government committed a total of US$58 million (Sh6 billion) to drive the plan.

“These improvements illustrate that in Kenya, we have the answers, we know what works, we have evidence-based, cost-effective and feasible interventions that have been adopted by the government,” said Health Principal secretary, Dr Nicholas Muraguri yesterday. The National Nutrition Plan is part of the roadmap to success, Vision 2030.

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