Kenya’s plea for global solidarity was delivered passionately by Health CS Susan Nakhumicha during the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Amidst the grandeur of the global summit, Nakhumicha painted a sobering picture of the Horn of Africa’s recurring tryst with climatic adversities, having endured five consecutive missed rainy seasons. The human cost has been staggering with over 50,000 lives lost, a significant portion of which are children under the age of five.
The Growing Crisis
The intricacies of climatic changes have had a pronounced ripple effect on the region. Notably, the alarming surge in malnourished children under five in Kenya has reached nearly one million, with 142,000 pregnant and lactating mothers added to the vulnerable group. This unsettling rise starkly contrasts the figures of yesteryears.
A Clarion Call at the UNGA
Nakhumicha’s engagement at the UNGA Side event on Child Survival in the Hunger and Malnutrition Crisis brought forth the gravity of the situation. Emphasizing the criticality of a holistic, multi-sectoral approach towards ensuring nutrition security, she urged global leaders for technical and financial support, stressing the importance of collaborative and innovative remedies to address child malnutrition.
“Kenya remains unyielding in its resolve to shield its vulnerable children, both domestically and globally,” Nakhumicha articulated.
This high-stakes gathering at the Lexington Hotel bore witness to the collective commitment of world leaders to mitigate the challenges befalling the children of the region.
Kenya’s Internal Measures
Despite the daunting challenges, Kenya has not been a passive observer. With proactive interventions such as the rollout of fertilizer subsidies and the Afya Bora Mashinani model targeting Universal Health Coverage, the nation is striving to fortify its internal mechanisms.
The Global Impact and Response
The situation in Kenya is not an isolated incident. A disconcerting report by Action Against Hunger underscores the global rise in hunger and malnutrition since 2015. The number reached a staggering 800 million in 2021. Factors contributing to this dire scenario include conflict, violent disruptions, extreme weather events, and mounting economic pressures. Meeting these rising humanitarian needs has seen a 25% spike in costs over the past year.
The impending El Nino phenomenon casts a foreboding shadow over a region already grappling with multifaceted challenges. The resilience of Kenya, intertwined with the outstretched hand of global solidarity, offers a beacon of hope. The fight against malnutrition and the ancillary adversities requires a unified global front, embracing innovative solutions and steadfast political will.