45 children in Mandera County face acute malnutrition

Mandera drought

Mandera County and the Kenya Red Cross officials flag off supplementary livestock feeds on September 31, 2022. The ongoing drought has negatively affected many lives in the county.

Photo credit: manase Otsialo | Nation Media Group

At least 45 children in Mandera County are adversely affected by acute malnutrition occasioned by severe drought.

Mandera County Health Executive Mohamed Muhamud has appealed to well-wishers to donate therapeutic formula feeds for children aged between six months and five years.  

“We have not recorded any deaths this month but we have at least 45 children facing acute malnutrition,” he said.

He said the increase of children from Somalia and Ethiopia had put pressure on health facilities in Mandera.  

“We are dealing with an international problem because we have to receive and treat those coming in from Somalia and Ethiopia, we appeal to all partners to assist and supplement efforts by the Mandera County government,” he said.

According to the Mandera County health department, at least 108,735 children in Mandera below five years of age face acute malnutrition while 15,216 estimated caseloads of breastfeeding and pregnant women require urgent medical attention.

Mr Mohamud said at least 7,000 malnourished children have been treated in Mandera since January.

“Any child suffering from malnutrition has other complications because their immunity level is very low, we have to do more as drought persists,” he said.

Through Kenya Red Cross Society, Unicef has donated Sh157 million to improve nutrition in children in Mandera County.

The project aims at preventing mortality related to nutritional distress among expectant and breastfeeding women, children below five years and other special groups.

United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) is also sponsoring integrated health outreaches in at least 26 areas across Mandera County.

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Kenya Red Cross have donated 7,820 bags of supplementary livestock feeds worth Sh73 million for pastoralists in Mandera East, Arabia and Mandera West sub counties.

At least 452,724 heads of cattle, 386,448 camels, 1,365,841 goats, 333,260 sheep and 105,660 donkeys require urgent supplementary feeds, treatment and water.

Another Sh20 million from ICRC has been spent on at least 600 households in Guba, Malkamari and Banisa wards under the cash transfer programme that has seen each family receive Sh10,600 for three months.

While flagging off the supplementary livestock feeds, Dr Ali Maalim, the Mandera County Deputy Governor appealed for more relief food from the national government and donors.

“Mandera County has at least 500,000 families severely affected by the ravaging drought and I appeal to our partners to support us in mitigating this situation,” he said.

He said water supply in most parts of the county remains a challenge as the county government is forced to supply water to at least 232 centres daily. 

Mr Mustafa Adan, Kenya Red Cross Mandera County Coordinator said the organisation will continue to support the county government’s efforts in mitigating effects of drought.