By Lorraine Anyango
Kisumu county’s GDP is set to increase by at least 5 % on wards, thanks to sensitized nutrition champions ready to change the nutrition narrative in the region.
The 20-champions graduated armed with evidence-based data on the nutrition situation with a drive that nutrition can break the cycle of poverty.
While closing the three days training for the champions, Dr. George Rae the CEO of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral hospital (JOOTRH) said that nutrition is the foundation of health.
“Nutrition is the building block of disease resistance; food security is an integral part and a critical agenda in the dispensing of health services.” Dr. Rae said.
He charged the nutrition champions with ensuring that they educate the populace and ensure that households are food secure, adding that they should specifically address cases of anemia and micro nutrient insecurity.
“You must advocate that all households do the right thing.” He added that nutrition is an important part of the therapy accorded to those living with HIV and Aids, TB, and even the latest being covid.
He called on periodic meetings to monitor the progress gained as advocacy is being carried out since as malnutrition grows, performance in schools goes down as well.
The training was supported by Advancing Nutrition a program being implemented by Save the Children Organization and supported by USAID.
The work to change perceptions around nutrition is anchored on data interpreted as signifying that stunted children result in a stunted economy as stated by Dr. Akinwumi Adesina – the president of the African Development Bank group.
Further data indicates that 117 shillings investment in nutrition yields 1,872 in return and investing in Sh 117 could save about 7 million lives in low- and middle-income countries.
The champions are expected to increase awareness and mobilize communities for nutrition activities and contribute towards building and sustaining a political commitment to nutrition.
They are also charged with the responsibility of contributing toward increased resources and skills for nutrition intervention, creating demand for nutrition services at all levels of operations, and increasing dietary behaviors change to improve nutrition quality and health benefits.
To achieve the above objectives the champions will be lobbying the leadership of the cabinet and county assemblies to support nutrition policies, bills, and legislation.
They will be advocating for good nutrition practices and support nutrition campaigns such as malezi bora, world breastfeeding day, world food day, world fish day, and education day in Kisumu as well as mobilize resources to support nutrition sensitive and specific activities.
The champions were also equipped with communication skills, platforms to disseminate maters on nutrition as well as how to disseminate the same information to the disabled.
The champions will carry out their mandate for the next two years during which several activities stated in the Kisumu’s County Nutrition Action plan (CNAP) 2021 -2023 will be carried out.
Some of the activities include interventions to curb malnutrition such as baby-friendly community initiatives, Family integrated management of acute malnutrition, and maternal and infant and young child nutrition. (MUAC)