Nutrition International in partnership with the Ministry of Health has launched a nutrition supplement programme for adolescent girls and pregnant women.
The Right Start Initiative will supply more than 1.5 million pregnant women and adolescent girls, highly prone to anaemia, with nutrition supplements in 21 counties.
“The project will target 21 counties and reach 710,000 pregnant women with World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended iron and folic acid supplements and 810,000 adolescent girls with weekly iron and folic supplementation and nutrition education,” said Nutrition International Country Director Chris Wanyoike.
Director of Medical Services Jackson Kioko said improving the health of mothers increases the chance of child survival and development.
“Their health status depends on a number of factors including the quality of their nutrition,” said Dr Kioko in his speech read by MOH Head Neonatal Child Adolescent Health Unit Dr Warfa Osman.
The initiative, supported by the government of Canada, to cost an estimated Sh712 million kicked off in Nakuru County where adolescent girls, aged 10 above, from Naivasha DEB Primary School took the first batch of the supplements.
The prevalence of iron deficiency and subsequent anemia increases at the start of adolescence and more so in girls which is caused by increased requirements of nutrition for growth aggravated a few years later by the onset of menstruation.
The initiative will also support over 665,000 newborns with a package of interventions at birth and 636,000 children under two years old with nutrition services.
Additionally, 986,000 women of reproductive age and adolescent girls will be reached through fortification of commercial maize flour with iron and folic acid at a national level.
Nutrition International President Joel Spicer assured of their commitment in supporting the country’s efforts to improve the nutrition and health while also assisting strengthen response at community level.
“We believe that real change takes place closest to the people that need it. I have seen some of the impacts they have achieved firsthand and it is inspiring,” he said.
The counties to benefit from the proramme we selected on a need basis and include Nakuru, Makueni, Kajiado, Kilifi, Machakos, Kwale, Vihiga and Kakamega among others.