Alarm over rise in anaemia among pregnant women

Health Executive Zachary Gichuki addresses the Press after a meeting with members of the county assembly’s health committee at Lake Naivasha Resort. [Antony Gitonga, Standard]
The Nakuru County government has expressed concern over the high number of pregnant women suffering from anaemia.

According to the department of health, data show that most of the women seeking ante-natal care lack essential nutrients, including iron, which complicate their health during delivery.

The revelation comes barely a week after a non-governmental organisation noted that maize, cooking oil and wheat flour were not fortified with the necessary nutrients as per the law.

Last week, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) noted that the country was doing badly in terms of making sure that food products were fortified.

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And to address this, the county government has moved in to provide food supplements to minors in Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE) centres and women seeking ante-natal care.

According to Health Executive Kariuki Gichuki, cases of anaemia in mothers was rising mainly due to lack of necessary supplements in their meals.

“We have launched a programme where we are providing supplements to minors under the age of five and women seeking ante-natal clinic,” he said.

Gichuki further added that they were in the process of including girls who have started menstruating in the supplements programme.

He at the same time noted that cases of stunted growth were on the rise due to poor diets, despite the county being a major producer of crops rich in nutrients.

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“The county might be a major producer of food but the problem is that most people are eating unhealthy diets that are affecting their health,” he said.

The doctor added that obesity was also a challenge in the county, adding that poor eating habits had contributed to this, with women being the most affected.

“One of the major contributors to the emerging challenges are failure by food companies to fortify maize, cooking oil and wheat flour with the necessary nutrients as per the law,” he said.

Last week, GAIN County Director Leah Kaguara noted that no county had met the set standards in terms of fortifying food products.

Kaguara identified Bomet and Kitui as counties with the highest cases of stunted growth, while Nyeri and Kirinyaga led in obesity.

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“We have launched a project to educate the counties in need to improve the food we eat by adding the recommended vitamins and other micro-nutrients,” she said.

pregnant womananaemiaNakuru County