A team of Italian donors has described a charity trip to Amref Health Africa’s Integrated Nutrition project in Siaya County in Kenya as ‘completely life-changing’.
The donors, Sonia Badoni, Massimiliano Gaddini and Caterina Rochetti exuded confidence on how Amref staff displayed their commitment towards making the project succeed.
The team, accompanied by two representatives from Amref Health Africa in Italy, Serena Gentile and Silvia Carbutti were on a mission to assess the impact of the project which is funded by the European Union through Amref Health Africa in Italy.
Caterina described the trip as both positive and an eye-opener. “I am very grateful and excited to visit this project, when I go back home and will report to the people of Italy, my family and friends what I have seen,” she said.
The project which works closely with County government, in partnership with Matibabu Foundation is aimed at increasing access to maternal and child nutrition services as well as improve nutrition in the region.
During the two-day tour which started on 3 October 2017, the team first visited Mother to Mother support group in Ugunja sub-County where they had an interactive session with group members.
They interacted with mothers and caregivers, Community Health Workers (CHWs) and County Nutritionist. The mothers did not shy away to share their joy, saying the project has brought positive change in their health as well as the health of their babies.
The support group provides a platform for mothers to exchange ideas and experiences on nutritional issues with the hope of improving lives of mothers and children. Besides nutrition, the mothers discuss exclusive breastfeeding, the importance of ante-natal care and kitchen gardening.
“We live in a country where everything is easy. We have a lot of power and potential. If we mentor our children they will realise their full potential.” said Sonia.
The team also toured Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres at Madede and Lwala Primary School and interacted with the school’s Head Teacher, pupils, and the ECD coordinators. They were able to witness how Amref has helped in the nutrition and growth components of the children through supporting ECD outreaches in the schools as well as training ECD teachers on nutrition matters. The project has immensely contributed to the improved coverage of Vitamin A supplement from 32% to 80% this year.
While touring Lwala Kaor Primary School, the donors came to terms with deplorable facilities – dusty classrooms and sinking latrines. The team also met with the County Chief Officer of Health, Dorothy Owino who commended Amref on the significant role it has played in supporting the county.
“Amref is a key partner and has played a very significant role in easing disease burden,” asserted Owino.
According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, malaria prevalence in Siaya stands at 27%, HIV 24.8% skilled delivery is at 66%. Maternal mortality is 691 out of 100,000 live births, child mortality 102 out of 1000, underweight is 7.4% and exclusive breastfeeding in the whole Nyanza region is 69%.
The team was hosted by John Kutna, acting project manager, Integrated Nutrition project, the project’s co-facilitators as well as representatives from Matibabu Foundation and County officials.
By Maureen Cherongis