The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: State to Spend Sh6 Billion On Nutrition - Mugo

Photo: Lauren Everitt/AllAfrica
Alice Githae recommends that mothers gradually add grains, such as millet, to their children's diet after six months of breastfeeding. Many mothers overlook traditional foods, which are often nutritious and affordable, because they are perceived as animal feed, she says.

THE government will spend Sh6 billion in the next five years to scale up nutrition in the country.

Public Health and Sanitation minister Beth Mugo said the money will be spread across line ministries including Water and Irrigation, Fisheries Development, Agriculture, and National Planning and Development to improve the health of Kenyans.

Mugo said the government is committed to ensuring the country will be a middle income earner as captured in Vision 2030. "When we ask ourselves, 'Can we achieve this vision with an unhealthy population?' The answer is clear to all of us," she said.

Kenya has high stunting rates of 35 per cent and is currently experiencing a rise in diet-related non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer, kidney and liver complications that are attributed to the consumption of foods low in fibre and high in fats and sugars.

The minister said reducing malnutrition in Kenya is not just a health priority but also a political choice that calls for a multi-sectoral focus and political goodwill, adding that communities will be empowered to claim their right to good nutrition and guided to play their role towards realising this right.

"The solutions to malnutrition are practical and basic. We recognise that they have to be applied at scale and prioritized in the national development agenda. The scope of interventions has to shift from targeting emergencies to focusing on addressing poor nutrition practices," she said.

Speaking during the official launch of scaling up nutrition symposium in Nairobi, Mugo said the government requires additional resources to strengthen systems that are required to scale up nutrition interventions and end all forms of malnutrition.

"These commitments and actions are articulated in the Nutrition Action Plan (2012-2017) and have been aligned to the country's Policy and Medium Term Implementation Plans for budgetary inclusion," she added.

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