Undernutrition is Costing Kenya’s Economy KSh373.9 Annually

Kenya Ranked 138 Globally on Children's Wellbeing Report  

The report says that despite Kenya having made progress in reducing stunting in children from a high of 33 percent in 1994 to 26 percent in 2014, stunting rates are still high since it affects 1 in every four children under 5 years.

Undernutrition is costing the Kenyan economy KSh373.9 billion, which represents a loss of 6.9 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as at 2014.

A study dubbed “Cost of Hunger in Africa (COHA) – Kenya chapter, that touches directly on three sectors of the economy namely Health, Education and Labour productivity and using 2014 as a reference period,  further shows that hunger is one of the root causes of malnutrition in Kenya as well as Africa with the negative impact on children under five years.

The report says that despite Kenya having made progress in reducing stunting in children from a high of 33 percent in 1994 to 26 percent in 2014, stunting rates are still high since it affects one in every four children under five years.

Speaking Thursday during the release of the report, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Amb.  Ukur Yatani said hunger is unacceptable and must be eradicated especially in Africa.

“In 2018, the number of people who were hungry globally stood at 821.6 million, which implies that one person in nine people, suffers from hunger. Approximately 31 percent of the World hungry people come from Africa,” he said.

In a speech read by the Cabinet Secretary for Health Sicily Kariuki, on behalf of  President Uhuru Kenyatta, during the release of the Cost of Hunger in Africa (COHA) Kenya Study report on Thursday, the President said scale up and diverse financing for good nutrition for a healthy and productive nation should be a priority  to address the challenges associated with malnutrition.

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Child malnutrition

He, therefore, said there is a need to work together and put in place a comprehensive mechanism to address the challenges of child undernutrition.

He also called for the strengthening of existing public-private partnerships in the implementation of the policy recommendations from the study.

The President noted that the challenges associated with malnutrition have led to the need for focus and emphasis on nutrition as part of the development effort in the World.

“Recognizing that Children are the greatest asset of our Nation, My Government is committed to ending child undernutrition,” he said.

The COHA study estimates the social and economic impact of child undernutrition and provides evidence-based analysis on the cost of hunger geared towards implementing strategies that eradicate child undernutrition in the country.