A report from the Government of Kenya indicates that the 2017 long rains performance was below normal with poor spatial and temporal distribution. This poses a concern to the nutrition status across the country, especially pastoral communities who are most vulnerable. As a response to this worrying situation, Government institutions are working together with humanitarian organizations to scale up nutrition response mainly in the marginalized regions.
World Friends has partnered with health stake holders in Kajiado County-one of the vulnerable regions, to ensure that communities receive essential nutritional care and support.
On 11th July 2017, World Friends teamed up with the Kajiado West Sub County Nutrition team to conduct a mass nutrition screening in Turusei village. Inhabited mainly by the pastoral Maasai community, Turusei is a sparsely populated village located in the western parts of Kajiado County. It is a region mainly characterized by women and children taking care of large herds of cattle or goats. Unfortunately most of the Turusei residents only understand the Maasai dialect, a consequence of early marriage practice among most Turusei residents.
Margaret Metene a mother of four is a resident of Turusei and also the wife to the area chief; – “When there is adequate rainfall, we do not struggle to get food since most of it is available in the market at a fair price. Unfortunately this year, there isn’t enough food and we are depending mainly on relief food. We are thankful for the porridge flour and food supplements which are donated to vulnerable children, pregnant mothers and the elderly in our village. The absence of consistent rains has led to a deficit of water in the water sources, posing a threat not only to humans but also our animals. We have to walk over 15 Kilometers to the nearest borehole for our cattle to get drinking water, but at a charge of 40-50 shillings per head! We hope that it will rain soon since drought has hit us hard and we are worried for our children and animals if the condition doesn’t improve.”
Out of 92 women and children screened, 12 lactating mothers were under nourished, 9 children were moderately malnourished with one child suffering from acute malnutrition. 15 children were also found to be at risk of malnutrition.
Follow ups will continue to ensure they regain their health and that there is a consistent supply of food supplements till the condition improves.