By Sharon Atieno

In a move to tackle malnutrition in Kenya, several county governments signed an agreement that will see them increase finances allocated to nutrition in their counties.

The financing agreement signed between Nutrition International and the county governments of Vihiga, Makueni, Busia and Nandi will involve a yearly contribution of ten million each towards improving nutrition in the counties.

The contract is a performance based match funding, this means that for every ten million the county removes, Nutrition International will also remove the same amount to support each county.

The governors, deputy governors and the Nutrition International team after the signing

Speaking at the event, Joel Spicer, the President and Chief Executive Officer Nutrition International applauded the efforts of the county governments, noting that partnership is key in solving the nutrition issue.

Kenya faces a triple burden of malnutrition that is, stunting, overweight /obesity and micronutrient nutrition, with women and children being the most vulnerable.

“There is no place in Kenya where there is no malnutrition. Even the most food secure counties have some form of malnutrition,” said Martha Nyagaya, Director of Nutrition International-Kenya, during the event.

In a Cost of Hunger study launched in Kenya in 2019, out of the 7.22 million children who took part in the study, 1.8 million were stunted (too short for age); 290,000 were wasted and 767,927 were underweight.

Working with Nutrition International, the county leadership and policy makers of Vihiga, Makueni, Busia and Nandi have developed their County Nutrition Action Plans (CNAP) which have been aligned by the Kenya Nutrition Action Plan (KNAP) 2018-2022, which was developed to accelerate efforts towards the elimination of malnutrition as a public health problem.

Representatives of different stakeholders during the signing

The Nandi CNAP 2019-2023 will cost a total of US$ 22.1 million with a projected health impact of averting 4,014; 640 child deaths; 1,668 cases of adolescent anaemia and 17,227 cases of anaemia in pregnancy.

With the cost of malnutrition in Vihiga County being around US$ 2.07 million, the five-year CNAP will cost a total of US$ 15.75 million. The projected health impact will prevent 2,525 stunting cases; 715 child deaths; 1,092 cases of adolescent anaemia and 11,474 cases of anaemia in pregnancy.

The total cost of implementation of the Makueni CNAP 2019-2023 will be US$ 12.04, with the projected health impacts being the aversion of 3,531 stunting cases; 571 child deaths, 560 adolescent anaemia cases and 14,220 pregnancy anaemia cases.

The Busia CNAP 2019-2023 will cost a total of US$ 20.8 million, with an estimated health effect of preventing 4,686 cases of stunting; 1,231 child deaths; 5,005 cases of adolescent anaemia and 17,122 cases of anaemia pregnancy.

The financing agreement is a three year contract to address nutrition needs through the county action plans. Currently, Nutrition International is supporting 16 counties to develop their action plans.