Nandi County, the source of nutrition champions

Nandi County Nutrition Action Plan Launch

Nandi County Nutrition Action Plan Launch

On November 20th, Nandi County launched its County Nutrition Action Plan (CNAP) in the presence of County Governor Stephen Sang and Nutrition International President and CEO Joel Spicer, Nutrition International Africa Regional Director Dr. Richard Pendame and Nutrition International Kenya Country Director Martha Nyagaya. A representative from Kenya’s Nutrition and Dietetics Division, Betty Samburu, was also among the speakers.

Nandi County is among the counties with the highest levels of malnutrition in Kenya. According to the Kenya Demographic Health Survey 2014, the prevalence of stunting among children under five was 29.9%, way above the national level of 26%, wasting was at 4% while underweight was at 11%. The County Chief Executive Committee Member for Health, the Honourable Ruth Koech, said these figures “are unacceptable.” The CNAP targets the reduction of the prevalence of stunting among children under five by 40%, childhood wasting to less than 5%, childhood underweight to less than 10% and reduce malnutrition among older children and adolescents by 15%.

The CNAP provides a roadmap to the County Government and nutrition stakeholders to address and reverse the trends of the triple burden of malnutrition. This plan is aligned with the County Strategic Plan, the County Integrated Development Plan, the Annual Work Plan and the Kenya National Nutrition Action Plan.

Dr. Pendame challenged governments to prioritize nutrition, adding that nutrition should be anchored in the political and economic agenda of all governments. He thanked countries that had taken control of nutrition by developing multi-sectoral action plans. At the same time, Dr. Pendame cited nutrition initiatives by the African Union and Malabo Declaration as good examples of efforts to elevate the nutrition agenda in Africa.

In his remarks, Governor Sang announced that the county’s target was to “reduce all forms of malnutrition by 50% by 2023.” He thanked Nutrition International for supporting the priorities identified by the county, stating that his government had mainstreamed nutrition across departments such as agriculture, education, lands and settlement, and allocated resources to nutrition programs.

Through sustained advocacy campaigns, Nandi County leaders, including Members of County Assembly, have transformed negative cultural practices and taboos, by sensitizing residents to adopt good nutrition practices. “Nutrition has become a family agenda in Nandi County. We are on the right track. When you invest in nutrition it’s a priceless investment and an investment for the future generations,” said Koech.

The Deputy County Governor Dr. Yulita Cheruiyot is engaging women in nutrition education and kitchen gardening through her ‘Korgei Arise’ initiative. “We want to be the source of champions in everything, including nutrition,” Dr. Cheruiyot remarked.

Mr. Spicer praised the county for accelerating nutrition programs. “We are witnessing a dream state of affairs in nutrition,” he said. He pledged Nutrition International’s support to counties to strengthen leadership and ownership of nutrition programs.

The CNAP includes 10 key result areas, focused around three themes: nutrition-specific interventions, nutrition-sensitive interventions and enabling environment. The total cost of implementing the Nandi CNAP for the five years is estimated at Ksh2.3 billion.

Through its Right Start (Anzilisha) initiative, Nutrition International has invested Ksh7 million in Nandi County in 2018-2019, with an aim of creating an enabling environment, improving provision and consumption of key maternal child health and nutrition services.