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Nutritional cash transfer boost to pregnant women

Health & Science

The project targets to improve the nutritional status of pregnant mothers in selected counties. [File, Standard]

At least 12,000 households have benefited from nutritional cash transfers provided through the Kenya Social and Economic Inclusion Project (KSEIP).

The project targets to improve the nutritional status of children below two years and pregnant mothers in selected counties. Each child and pregnant woman is given Sh500 every month, for nutritional support under the programme dubbed Baby Friendly Initiative.

The Head of Nutrition and Dietetics Veronicah Kirogo noted that the country is facing a triple burden of malnutrition, namely undernutrition, hidden hunger, overweight, and obesity.

The selection of the counties was based on the burden of malnutrition based on data provided by the Kenya Demographics Health Survey (KDHS).

The counties have a stunted growth of at least 46 per cent, against the national indicator of 26 per cent.

“All counties where malnutrition programme is being targeted has malnutrition cases above the target we aim at bringing down,” said Kirogo.

The Nutritional Improvement Cash Transfer (NICHE) household has been registered in 15 sub-counties of Kitui South, Mwingi North, Ganza, Kaloleni, Turkana South, Turkana Central, Kapenguria, Kacheliba, Saku, Moyale, Kitui Central, Magarini, Pokot South, Loima and Laisamis.

With complementary feeding in children between zero and six months in the counties, only 22 per cent are getting minimum capacity.

“Children in affected counties are not getting complementary feeding, after exclusive breast-feeding, resulting in stunted growth, a health problem the nutritional project is aimed at addressing,” she added. The rate of exclusive breastfeeding within the counties is 61 per cent, as per the Kenya nutritional plan, against a target of 75 per cent set by the Ministry of Health.

A recent assessment report released in August 2021 revealed that about 650,000 children are treated for acute malnutrition in the country. The NICHE is a non-conditional cash transfer that bases its interventions on the existing Government’s National Safety Net Programme (NSNP) cash transfer programmes implemented by State Department of Social Protection, Senior Citizens, and Special Programmes, and NDMA.

The project is being implemented by the Ministry of Public Service Gender, Senior Citizens and Special Programmes, Ministry of Health, County governments of Kilifi, Kitui, West Pokot, Marsabit and Turkana, NDMA in Turkana and Marsabit, National Hospital Insurance Fund and Unicef.

Beneficiaries of the project within the counties were identified based on severe deprivation identified related to overall poverty, chronic malnutrition, stunting, low food security, inadequate health and nutrition and Wash related behaviour practice. 

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