The Public Health and Sanitation department has raised an alarm the increasing cases of stunted growth and underweight in children born in the Coast region. Malindi public health officer Rachel Kahindi said the Coast tops the country with 39 per cent of recorded cases.
"The Coast region leads nationally on this issue. Most children affected are from age one to five years," she said. Kahindi said lack of balanced diet caused by insufficient food and water are to blame for the problem.
"Stunted growth is a big problem in this region. In fact, the national average is 35 per cent. Kinango district is the most affected in the Coast with more than 41 per cent of children born in the area affected," she added.
The officer, who was accompanied by the Coast provincial Director for Public Health and Sanitation Anisa Omar, said between 15 and 20 per cent of children born in the region annually are severely underweight. "This is very worrying," she said.
She said the situation is worrying because the surveys by the Health ministry show that a big percentage of new born babies in the region annually are nurtured in nurseries.
"In a fact a big number of new borns in this region must be put in nurseries to keep them alive before being discharged to go home with their mothers," she said. Anisa said expectant mothers who either fail to attend the antenatal clinics or irregularly visit are to blame for the situation.