Lucy Chege: Millions of Kenyans at Risk of Insecurity & Malnutrition

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Lucy Chege: Millions of Kenyans at Risk of Insecurity & Malnutrition
Lucy Chege: Millions of Kenyans at Risk of Insecurity & Malnutrition. Photo/William Ruto giving food relief

As the world celebrates World Food Day on 16th November 2022, millions of Kenyans cannot afford a healthy diet and this puts them at a very high risk of food insecurity and malnutrition.

Acute malnutrition has been noted across 20 of the 23 ASAL counties with 942,000 cases of children aged 6-59 months acutely malnourished and 134,000 cases of pregnant or lactating women acutely malnourished in need of treatment. This is based on the 2022 long showers of rain food and nutritional security assessment report.

“Access by all people to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food at all times that meet dietary needs for a healthy and active life” has been the global vision for food security the United Nations has used since 1996.

If at all we are serious about healthy diets for all Kenyans then we need to do public investments in vegetables and fruits across the 47 counties.

Diversity in traditional or indigenous vegetables and fruits is very important for local use. Food safety related to significant consumer concerns about contamination and adulteration should be given priority.

We need to create a nation where there are not only enough calories for all, but where all people can afford healthy diets. The cycle of food insecurity and chronic diseases begins when someone cannot afford nutritious food.

Stress and poor nutrition make the management of diseases a challenge. The amount of money and time needed to attend to the health conditions strain the household budget, leaving families with little money for crucial medical and nutrition care.

Food insecurity can be tough especially when people do not know when or where they will eat their next meal.

The government of Kenya should start to reconsider how it can reassign its existing public budgets to make them more cost-effective and efficient in bringing down the cost of nutritious foods and improve the accessibility and affordability of healthy diets to realize a sustainable agrifood system and leave no Kenyan behind.

 

When healthy foods are scarce, people may go for foods that are high in calories and low in nutritional value. Limited accessibility to affordable and healthy foods can lead to poor health outcomes, especially for the locals in rural and low-income areas.

 

When we have better production in our country we will end up with better nutrition for our nation, a better environment, and improved life. Good nutrition is the bedrock for health and well-being, mental status, physical development, and economic productivity.

Good nutrition as a result of healthy food reduces disease and also increases labor productivity and income. The promotion of nutrition education is needed around food and sustainable production systems in the country.

The private sector, the government, and civil societies need to work jointly in solidarity to prioritize the right to food and good nutrition for all people. Every person, including the youth, can join in working towards an inclusive and sustainable future marked with food security.

When boys and girls are well-fed with healthy food they are better able to attend school and get an education. Women will be more productive, have stronger immune systems and have safer pregnancies and healthier children leading to a healthy nation.

 

Lucy Chege is a registered and licensed nutritionist based in Kenya, proficient in medical nutrition therapy. She is also the founder of Nutrition Therapy By Lucy firm.

 

Lucy Chege: Millions of Kenyans at Risk of Insecurity & Malnutrition

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