West Pokot County First Lady Dr. Mary Lonyang’apuo graced a meeting that was organized by The Ministry of Health towards preparation of the Nutrition Week. The meeting, which was held at the ministry's offices, was also attended by Chief Officers Ednah Krop-Sanitation and Ibrahim Longolomoi-Health, Partners from Red Cross, Unicef, Action Against Hunger, Youth Bunge, Sikom and Community Based Organizations (CBOs).
The vision of the nation is to have Kenya as “A globally competitive and prosperous nation with a high quality of life for its people” as stated in the Kenya Vision 2030 blue print. Achieving food and nutrition security is a key contributor to realizing this vision. National Nutrition Week celebration has previously been at the national level by Ministry of Health through the Nutrition and Dietetics Unit in collaboration with various stakeholders and partners. Counties now take the lead in these celebrations.
The objective of the nutrition week is to raise awareness on various actions that are expected to promote optimum nutrition throughout the lifecycle; from childhood to adulthood. The level of malnutrition in Kenya is at 35%, which is viewed as fair unlike West Pokot County which is at 39%.
First Lady Dr. Mary Lonyang’apuo said that it is important for the county to set goals and strategies that will help improve the state of nutrition. She said that more needs to be done in order to ensure that the county meets its health targets.
“Before we make any move, we should first look at the strategies we have been using so that we see if we need to change the way we have been doing things. Maybe we have been doing things the same way and expecting different results. We need to check our strategies.” Dr. Mary said. She further said that matters of nutrition should not be done annually as is the case now but should be a continuous process.
Chief Officer Longolomoi nutrition rates are worrying as it is at the moment. He pointed out that the ministry has already laid out strategies aimed at changing the current situation.
“This is a worrying trend as you can see that we are way beyond the national level. Something needs to be done urgently.” said Ibrahim. He further said that some of our cultural beliefs and practices play a major role towards malnutrition. Ms Krop also applauded the efforts being done by the ministry towards fighting malnutrition. “We recently received 7 interns in the Nutrition department and this will ensure that we go an extra mile in tackling malnutrition. Kapenguria Hospital has now been accredited as an internship center.’ She noted.
This year The National Nutrition Week will be celebrated from 4th to 10th March. The theme for the week shall be “Our Food Our Culture; Improving Nutrition Together.”