Deworming and vitamin A crucial for good health of a child, says a Murang’a nutritionist

The Health Department of Murang’a County has embarked on a drive to administer de-worming drugs and give vitamin A supplement to children aged up to five years.

In a programme dubbed Malezi Bora, the department is targeting to de-worm more than 92, 900 children in the county before the end of this month.

According to the County Nutrition Officer Nancy Mwangi, more than 105, 600 children aged between six and 59 months are also expected to get vitamin A supplement.

Speaking to KNA on Tuesday, Mwangi observed that apart from giving the services in all public and private medical facilities, a team of health workers has been visiting Early Children Development and Education (ECDE) centers and homes to ensure the children are de-wormed.

She underscored the need for de-worming saying it’s one of better ways of fighting malnutrition among young ones. De-worming, Mwangi added, helps to boost immunity of children below five years to prevent them from getting frequent childhood illnesses.

“In Murang’a county, the rate of malnutrition is about 20 percent and we are working to reduce it to less than 10 percent in a period of less than a year,” she said. “During the administration of de-worming and giving vitamin A supplements, we are also educating mothers on healthy diets for children,” she added.

The nutritionist further observed that with the current situation where a section of households lacks enough food due to prolonged drought, the rate of malnutrition among children may go up.

“Some parents opt to feed their children without considering foods which are rich in vitamin A, that’s why we are giving the supplement as we also educate the mothers on foods which provide the crucial vitamin,” stated Mwangi.

Green vegetables, pumpkins, and fruits like oranges are some of the foods Mwangi said should be frequently given to children so that they can get vitamin A.

“Vegetables are locally available and that is why we encourage mothers to feed their children plenty of vegetables and fruits to enable them get vitamin A,” noted Mwangi.

The officer further advocated for exclusive breastfeeding for children aged up to six months. She underscored the need for breastfeeding saying it helps a child to get vitamin A.

“Mother’s milk is rich in vitamin A and that’s why we encourage them to ensure they exclusively breastfeed children aged up to six months. From there they can continue to breast feed as they introduce them to some foods for up to two years or even more,” she further said.

The nutritionist called on mothers and caregivers to take advantage of the programme and take their children for de-worming and to get vitamin A supplement at the nearest health facility.