STUDY REVEALS “ECONOMIC SHOCK” AS LEADING CAUSE OF MALNUTRITION IN TURKANA

STUDY REVEALS “ECONOMIC SHOCK” AS LEADING CAUSE OF MALNUTRITION IN TURKANA

Lokichar, March 15, 2024 (Public Communications and Media Relations)

The County Government of Turkana has received a report of a two-year study conducted by the African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC) with funding from USAID Nawiri showing that Persistent Acute Malnutrition in Turkana is directly linked to Economic shocks.

The study sampled households from fisherfolk, agro-pastoralists, urban and peri-urban areas, and pastoralists. They cited economic shocks such as the loss of livestock, inflation, and unemployment.

Speaking at the meeting, Chief Officer for Medical Services Dr. Gilchrist Lokoel pointed out that the findings have debunked assumptions that the leading cause of malnutrition was climate change, which led to food insecurity.

“These results have far-reaching implications that should inform nutrition programming, as it is the economic shock that is the leading cause, given that most residents buy food,” he said.

He stated that the study had revealed to all nutrition stakeholders, county government, and partners the starting point to tackle persistent malnutrition in the county.

Citing the findings, Dr Lokoel highlighted that fisherfolk and agro-pastoralists were particularly affected, thus requiring more investigation to uncover the root cause.

The lead researcher, Dr Faith Thuita, stated that malnutrition is not merely a health issue but a capital development issue.

“To safeguard the future generation, we have to understand malnutrition. It has to be evidence-based and backed by data to explain why the Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rate has never fallen below 15%,” she said.

The longitudinal study examined WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene), MIYCN (Maternal, Infant, and Young Child Nutrition), health-seeking behavior, household food security, women’s decision-making, shocks, and utilization of the mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) vis-a-vis height to weight.

USAID Nawiri Field Director for Turkana, Gabriel Ekuwam, said that the study findings would lead to discussions on programs that could change the lives of the people in the county.

Partner representatives present were Concern Worldwide Kenya, the Kenya Red Cross, the International Rescue Committee, and Save the Children.

TOBONGU LORE

13TH-14TH AUGUST 2024