Doctors without Borders has called for improved medical and humanitarian assistance in Kenya as the country battles with drought following three straight seasons of failed rains.

The humanitarian organisation, also known as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), said in a recent report that counties hit the most by the ongoing food insecurity are recording increasing numbers of malnourished children.

According to the World Food Programme (WFP), more and more children below the age of five years are experiencing high levels of stunting and wasting, as they lack the nutrients to grow and develop.

It is understood that in the Illeret area of Marsabit County, northern Kenya, the number of people suffering from malnutrition has been increasing in households because the health conditions of their livestock are deteriorating, resulting in less milk.

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) conducted a mass screening in February 2022, revealing a critical global acute malnutrition rate of 23 percent.

‘More funding and coordination are needed to be able to meet people’s critical needs and address malnutrition’, MSF’s Country Director in Kenya, Edi Atte, said in the report.

‘Mobile outreach needs to offer regular nutrition assessment and support. In the past, logistical and human resource challenges meant outreach clinics were held only once or twice a month, undoing the treatment progress of malnourished children and follow-ups’.

MSF, it was gathered, has assisted in adapting the inpatient department of Illeret Health Centre to a ten-bed inpatient therapeutic feeding centre. Mothers in the feeding centre, according to MSF, also receive three meals a day to enhance their lactation.

‘Since we started our intervention in March there has been an increase in admissions of children with acute malnutrition and children not responding to treatment’, Atte added. ‘We enhanced referrals to the stabilisation centre in Illeret. This has saved lives’.

The humanitarian organisation called for sustained food distribution to all households in Illeret and increased human resources for Illeret Health Centre.

Photo source: MSF

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