Last week, PSI/Kenya joined the Kenya Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) to launch a national behavior change communication campaign that will seek to educate Kenyans on Fortification and its health benefits. PSI/Kenya has worked with The Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, The Kenya National Food Fortification Alliance (KNFFA) and partners in the design of the consumer awareness and education campaign that will teach Kenyans about the benefits of food fortification and how to identify the fortified foods by looking out for the Food Fortification Logo (attached). The fortified staples include; Maize meal, Wheat flour, Sugar and Edible oils. GAIN is providing financial and technical support to the overall Fortification program.
The program is assisted by the passing legislation that mandates food fortification in Kenya. “The legislation is a major milestone that shows the political commitment of Kenya to improving the nutrition of its people through daily access to nutritious foods,” said Marc Van Ameringen, Executive Director of GAIN.
The Minister for Public Health and Sanitation, Beth Mugo, delivered remarks at the announcement of the partnership last week. In this section she explains the challenges of malnutrition:
Malnutrition which comes in various forms has devastating effects on development, health, productivity and education in any country. In Kenya Vitamin and mineral deficiencies continue to pose a major challenge to the health of our people. . Vitamin A deficiency affects about 80% of the children below 5 years in Kenya. Vitamin A deficiency lowers immunity, increases susceptibility to infection and complicates disease outcomes. Recognizing this, the Ministry routinely carries out vitamin A supplementation to children aged below 5 years. Iron deficiency affects 43% of the Kenyan children less than five years of age, 70% of pregnant women and 43% of women of child bearing age suffer from iron deficiency anaemia. In school children, it has been documented that the attention and retention capacity for iron deficient children is lower than their iron sufficient counterparts. Even worse, lives continue to be lost from iron deficiency anaemia, with a large number of women of reproductive age dying annually in pregnancy and child birth due to severe iron deficiency anaemia. Zinc deficiency affects almost half of all children and women. Zinc deficiency has been shown to increase the risk of, abortions, still births and stunted growth. Iodine deficiency is globally acknowledged as the single major cause of preventable brain retardation and here Kenya has made great strides in control of this condition by use of salt iodisation.
Listen to campaign radio spot (in Kiswahili) and see two of our ads below: