©UNICEF Kenya/2024/Nyaberi
UAMH hosted delegation to Kenya saw an integrated approach to tackling malnutrition
It was unanimous. Witnessing UK Aid in action to treat and prevent malnutrition was a positive and inspiring experience. That was the consensus of the delegation UAMH recently hosted on a visit to Kenya in partnership with UNICEF.
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The delegation included three cross-parliamentary candidates: Monica Harding, Liberal Democrat candidate for Esher and Walton; Marisa Heath the Conservative candidate for Dorking and Horley; and Steve Race, the Labour candidate for Exeter. They were joined by Christina Adane, a food equity campaigner and member of UAMH’s Global Leadership Council.   

Leigh Stubblefield, the FCDO’s Deputy High Commissioner and Development Director in Kenya, also joined and provided insight into the impact of the UK’s partnerships and investments. UAMH’s CEO Jonny Oates led the group, supported by UAMH’s Head of Advocacy and Policy Amy Smith. 

The packed three-day schedule incorporated the spectrum of integrated activity required for effective in-country interventions against malnutrition, including national and regional government action, front line delivery, and local business. 

Prevention is key, emphasised Mary Muthoni Muriuki, Kenya’s Principal Secretary at the Ministry for Health at her meeting with the delegates. The Principal Secretary explained rates of malnutrition in the country have fallen due to prioritisation and partnerships with donor countries, including the UK.   

The delegation also met with the Deputy Governor of Isiolo County, H.E. Dr. James Long’or Lowasa, who talked about the challenge of climate change, and particularly the lack of water in the region. 

Both officials provided an overview of the current nutrition situation, national and regional strategies being deployed, and the value placed on the partnership with the UK Government.   

Seeing front line services made a strong impression on the delegates. Deep in a drought-affected rural area of Isiolo county, they visited a mobile health clinic run by UNICEF and Action Against Hunger, which pastoralist communities typically walk many kilometres to attend.  

At the clinic delegates saw the Child Nutrition Fund in action, where health workers reported that cases of acute malnutrition were significantly reduced. 

After that, the group travelled on to a static health centre serving nearby community members and learned from the nurses there about the work they do.  

The tour ended with a visit to the Insta Products factory in Nairobi. This privately-owned business produces high quality ready-to-use-therapeutic food (RUTF) to treat acute malnutrition in children. The success of the enterprise, which creates jobs and reduces transportation costs of the commodity, is partly due to the factory’s upgrade in 2014 paid for by UK blended financing in partnership with other donors.   

UAMH CEO Jonny Oates said: “It was extremely beneficial for our delegation to see the work fighting malnutrition and hunger and understand more about how UK finance and support is contributing to Kenya’s national objectives and reducing malnutrition. It was obvious to us that access to good nutrition is the foundation on which sustainable development is built. That is why UAMH calls for nutrition to be central to the UK’s development approach.” 

©UNICEF Kenya/2024/Nyaberi
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