KENYA:Two Million Children Face Chronic Malnutrition

May 2014 TheStar;  CHILD malnutrition is among the biggest threats to Vision 2030 and Kenya’s achievement of the millennium development goals, an global nutrition advocay group has said.

Scaling up Nutrition Alliance said two million children under five years in Kenya are facing chronic malnutrition and stunted growth.

It said 44 per cent Kenyan children will “never reach their full mental and physical potential” if they survive due to acute malnutrition with 40,000 others dying because of being underweight and vitamin A-deficient.

Speaking in Nairobi during the launch of “Global day of action: Nutrition in the post-2015 development agenda” yesterday, the group’s chief nutritionist Grainne Maloney said malnutrition is the underlying cause of nearly half of child deaths especially in Kenya’s rural areas.

According to 2010 nutrition profiles in Kenya, in one year alone, conservative estimates put the loss to the Kenyan economy due to stunting at Sh128 billion and more than 500,000 people, mainly children, will die in the next 20 years due to malnutrition.

“For many children that survive the ill-effects of poor nutrition in early childhood, malnutrition results in poor cognitive development, decreased productivity and life expectancy,” Maloney said.

“Every woman and child has the right to a fair chance in life. And all human beings have the right to adequate and nutritious food, to be free from hunger. This right needs to be core to the efforts to improve food and nutrition security.”

According to the group, Kenya is currently facing a rise in diet-related non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer, kidney and liver complications attributed to consumption of food low in fiber and high in fats and sugars.

 

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