At least 2,400 children aged between 6 months - five years have been enrolled to a program where they are to get foodstuffs rich in nutrients.
According to John Ombogo, the project’s coordinator, the move is aimed at ensuring mortality rate and stunted growth among the children below five years is reduced.
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The food stuffs will be provided for free by One Acre Fund in partnership with the Kakamega County department of health.
The two year program that started in April this year runs up to 2020 and the beneficiaries are children allied to One Acre Fund in Kakamega County.
“The children in the project will get food stuffs rich in nutrients such as Vitamin A, C and D which important for the growth of bones, good vision, growth of cells and tissues in the boy and protection against infections,” Ombogo said.
Mr Ombogo said the selected households will get 8 improved Kienyeji chicken, seeds for indigenous vegetables, micronutrients powder (MNP), chlorine for water treatment, a bar of soap for handwashing and Oral Rehydration Solution and Zinc supplements in case the child has diarrhea.
He said MNP is mixed to a child’s food (a portion that the child is able to finish in a single sitting) before being administered. The foods include cooked potatoes, banana, eggs, meat, fish, vegetables and beans.
“Stunted growth and wasting away of kids cells is of great concern. We want to improve the socio-economic status through postnatal vitamin-supplementation which is essential for the growth of the kids,” he said.
He said nutrition specialists from the Kakamega County Referral hospital have been engaged and will help in the exercise.
One acre Fund has been in a number of years concentrating in agricultural programs which was initiated by both the National and County Governments which has led to the increased yields and household’s income though little focus was put on improving the nutritional status of wananchi.
“Despite Western Kenya’s favorable climate for food production, food and nutritional security still remain elusive especially among the poor people. Intake of micronutrient supplements will lead to improved nutrition status and improve the child health thus reducing child mortality rates in the County,” said Ombogo.
Ms Sally Oronje, Kakamega County Nurse In-charge, said such kids should be given plenty of fruits such as oranges, watermelon and pawpaw, saying the fruits are rich in Vitamin C and folic acid which helps in reducing the risk of getting stroke, cancer, heart diseases and type 2 diabetes.
Kakamega County Public Health Chief Officer, Ms Evelyn Mulunji said the County Government of Kakamega will give One Acre Fund the necessary support in implementing such a timely initiative to improve on both nutrition and health indicators in the county.
Ms. Mulunji added that micronutrient malnutrition/deficiency or hidden hunger, receives little attention though it is a major factor in the morbidity of preventable illnesses, physical and mental deformities that may not be corrected at later age.