Nyeri County has started an ambitious Nutrition Action Plan to address the increased health burden from lifestyle diseases and malnutrition.
Under the five-year plan, 2020/2021–2024/2025, the county is seeking to improve the nutritional health of residents, through the integration of nutritionists into various departments.
Nyeri County was ranked second in overweight and obesity cases in Kenya at 9.2 per cent, which is one of the risk factors of non-communicable diseases.
County Nutritional Officer Agnes Mwendia said the plan, if effectively implemented, would improve the disease burden and health status of locals.
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According to data presented in the plan, under-nutrition among children is still a major public health problem in Nyeri.
“Under-nutrition in the first 1,000 days post-conception is detrimental to the cognitive and physical health of the child as this is the crucial period for proper brain development and linear growth,” Mwendia said.
For new babies, the plan advocates early initiation of breastfeeding within an hour of birth and exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life.
The County Plan will also monitor and promote, nutrition among school-going children and adolescents, by setting up committees at the sub-county level which will ensure quality health and nutrition standards are adhered to and maintained.
According to the report, the county has only 29 nutritionists yet it needs 719 to oversee nutrition programmes.