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UNICEF: 60,000 children in Garissa are malnutrioned, with 17,000 of them severely affected



By: Harun Salat 

GARISSA—The ministry of Health in collaboration with Garissa county government and Terre des Hommes (TDH) non-governmental organization have launched a nutrition response programme aimed at preventing and treating malnutrition children, pregnant and lactating mothers in Garissa.

The program aims to address the nutrition and health needs of the vulnerable populations in the county as a result of the immediate drought emergency as well as strengthen community and facility level nutrition services and hygiene promotion.

According to Tom Omollo, UNICEF’s project manager in Garissa County, the nutrition situation among children in the county remains very critical as over 60,000 children are suffering from malnutrition, with 17,000 of them severely malnourished.

“The county government have been working very closely with other partners and United Nations agencies to be able to mount a response to address the response to the cases of malnutrition,”

“Through this response, we have been able to reach many children. Last year alone, over 7000 malnourished children were treated as a result of partners’ collaborations. This year, we have been able to screen all children between 6 to 59 months and pregnant mothers,” he added.

Omollo said that due to the concerted efforts of all players in the sector, malnourished children and mothers identified in the screening process have been treated on site while others referred to hospitals thus making sure that no death has been reported as a result.

“We are expecting to see improvement from between 6 to 9 months where every household will be able to access the healthcare needed and so we have that all the partners will continue mounting this kind of response,” he said.

Garissa deputy county coordinator for nutrition Abdi Sheikh Mohamed said that they have trained health workers in the county on malnutrition in order to capacity build them and help in accurately managing the children at the community level.

“We are also engaging communities at the grass root level with the help of community health units through dialogues, mother to mother groups, and outreach programmes to relay these messages so that we can reach everyone,” Mohamed said.

Community health workers at the grass root level also train the pregnant and lactating mothers on a healthy diet where those with malnourished children are provided with plumpy nuts, nutrition supplements and porridge flour to help the children add weight and improve on their health.


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