In Child Survival, PS Kenya through HCM supported the Ministry of Health in increasing immunization coverage in Homa Bay County. This was informed by the findings of a household survey done in Homa Bay County in 2016 by IPSOS Synovate and PS Kenya that indicated knowledge as the biggest barrier to completion of the immunization schedule. According to the World Health Organization, a child is considered fully immunized when they have received one BCG, three doses of Pentavalent vaccine, three doses of polio and one measles vaccine in their first year of life. Kenya aims to reach 90% national immunization coverage and 80% in each county.
Lastly, under the Malaria and Child Health Program, PS Kenya ran Weekly Iron and Folic acid Supplementation (WIFS) targeting adolescents (10–19 year olds) through nutrition education and a weekly Iron supplement to both in and out of school girls, to promote anaemia prevention. In Kenya, the anaemia prevalence among adolescents (10-14 years) is 16.6 % ( KMIS 2015) and 22 % among Women of Reproductive Age (KNMS 2011).
Through our commercial arm, PS Kenya distributes of point of use water treatment products like WaterGuard, Aquatabs and P&G Purifier of Water as one of the ways of preventing water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea and cholera.
The “Zuia Kuhara Okoa Maisha” campaign: The aim of the campaign was to support the Ministry of Health in increasing awareness of ORS and Zinc as the first line treatment for diarrhea. The “Zuia Kuhara Okoa Maisha” which is swahilli for “Stop diarrhea, Save lives” campaign promoted diarrhea prevention through correct hand-washing at critical times, proper sanitation, exclusive breastfeeding and household water treatment and safe storage. The campaign also promoted treatment of diarrhea using ORS and Zinc.
Implementation was in Western, Nyanza and Coast Counties which have high diarrhea prevalence. The “Zuia Kuhara Okoa Maisha” campaign has been largely a mass media campaign supported by community activities. In addition to BCC, the campaign was being supported by a team of medical detailers providing provider behavior change to the pharmacies and chemists in the all the regions. Treatment using ORS and Zinc was also carried out in the 309 Tunza facilities country wide. This activity was supported by USAID.
In partnership with the Unit of vaccines and immunization services (UVIS) under Ministry of Health, PS Kenya has developed an evidence-based immunization campaign aimed at increasing uptake of immunization services. The immunization campaign dubbed ‘Kutomaliza Chanjo Ni Kukatiza Ndoto’ was based on the concept of aspirations and dreams caregivers have for their children and using this as an emotional hook for increasing immunization uptake. The campaign targeted 10 counties: Kakamega, Kericho, Bomet, Baringo, Migori, Nairobi, Garissa, Mandera, Wajir and W/ Pokot which, according to data routine immunization data were found to have the lowest uptake of immunization services among their children under the age of 2 years. The campaign was supported by USAID.
Good nutrition plays a major role in poverty reduction, boosting economic development and in realization of social goals in Kenya. It is central to human, social, and economic development, health and survival, and should thus be a priority sub national, national and global levels. Malnourished children are exposed to an increased risk of morbidity and mortality, delayed cognitive development, and reduced productivity into adulthood. Malnutrition is a key hindrance to optimal child growth and development, maternal and child health, and work performance and thus reduced productivity. Investing in prevention of maternal and child malnutrition is thus key in realization of long term benefits to the current and future generations.
Stunting has decreased from 35% to 26%, wasting from 7% to 4%, and underweight from 16% to 11% from 2008 to 2014. Despite this progress, the country is still lagging behind in terms of stunting, falling well short of its 16.3% MDG target by 9.7%. Additionally, substantial regional disparities still exist in the country, with some areas having stunting levels above 40%. Kitui, Kwale and Kilifi are among the Counties having the highest stunting rates in Kenya; 46%, 30% and 39% respectively.
The nutrition situation in Kenya is improving, with significant progress in tackling malnutrition amongst children under 5 years having been made from 2008-2014 Kenya Demographic Health Survey, 2014. However regional disparities exist in the country with some areas having stunting levels above 40%. Currently, Kitui, Kwale and Kilifi counties have the highest stunting rates in Kenya.Research shows that factors compounding stunting in these counties are myths, taboos and misconception around Infant and Young Child Feeding practices, religious belief affecting uptake of health services and heavy dependence on income to purchase rather than grow food.
In collaboration with the county governments, PS Kenya designed and implemented a community-centred Communication for Development intervention to improve community resilience to nutritional shock in Kwale, Kilifi and Kitui. In Kitui County, PS Kenya also implemented enhanced nutrition counselling among households receiving the cash transfer for improved nutrition outcomes.
The Weekly Iron Folic Acid Supplementation Project (WIFS) was an adolescent health and nutrition demonstration intervention project that targeted in school and out of school adolescent girls aged 10 – 19 years with an aim of reducing the rates of anemia. This is in line with a WHO recommendation which states that WIFS is a public intervention. The adolescent girls were expected to consume 60mg of elemental iron and 2.8mg of folic Acid once a week.
The WIFS project was Funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) Right Start initiative through Nutrition International.