Nutritional Security of Pre-school Children from Irrigators and Non-irrigators Households in Turkana County, Kenya

Jane N. Situma, Jacob W. Wakhungu, Edward M. Neyole

Abstract


Turkana County is a region of soils of high agricultural potential but aridity hinders its exploitation. It is characterized by scarce, erratic rainfall patterns. Food security remains a challenge in Turkana County despite its potential. Malnutrition resulting from food insecurity is the major concern in Turkana County. Turkana County prevalence of global acute malnutrition has remained high above the World Health Organization (WHO) threshold that is 27.3%. The study was guided by sustainable development goals, the goal number two which talks about end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable development and goal number three which talks about ensuring healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Malnutrition has been and continues to be responsible for over 60% of child mortality and therefore reduction of malnutrition is one of key ways of reducing child mortality. The current study investigated the contribution of small-scale irrigation interventions on   nutrition status of pre-school children in Turkana County.

Study objectives were; to evaluate nutrition status of pre-school children using anthropometry measurements among households practicing irrigation and those not practicing and establish the relationship. Cross-sectional, comparative and evaluation designs were used. Purposive and cluster sampling was done. Sample size was 420 (210 households practicing irrigation and 210 not practicing). A total of 845 children below 5 years were studied. The nutrition status of the pre-school children was poor across households practicing irrigation and those not practicing irrigation. The Chi square test of independence on the weight for age status for children below five years    gave X2 2, 0.05 = 90.439.  This shows that there was highly significant (p<0.01) association between the weight for age for children below five years and the irrigation status of the household. A test of deviation to analyze weight for age for children below five years across households doing irrigation indicated that there was significant (p<0.05) difference with X2 1, 0.05 = 9.167. The Chi square test of independence on the prevalence of weight for height for children below five years    gave X2 3, 0.05 = 21.798.  This shows that there was significant (p<0.05) association between the weight for height for children below five years and the irrigation status of the household. Non-food strategies may be needed to complement dietary practices to manage the malnutrition situation in Turkana County


Keywords


Nutrition security; Irrigators; Nutrition status; households; pre-school; agriculture.

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