Baby-Friendly Initiative

Following continuous training of Community Health Promoters in Nakuru County (CHPs) by the Department of Health on theBaby Friendly Community Initiative, CHPs have put their knowledge into action by introducing vertical gardening in hospital spaces to promote healthy eating habits.

The County Executive for Health, Ms Roselyn Mungai said vertical gardening is a simple concept where instead of plants growing horizontally in a traditional garden, they’re growing vertically, like climbing a ladder.

While speaking at the Dundori Health Centre today she noted that vertical gardening is a space-saving and super-efficient way to grow all sorts of plants, from herbs and veggies to flowers. And it’s the solution for lack of space or a big garden, like in cities or even on small balconies.

Additionally, she said health centres are a perfect place for training expectant mothers when attending antenatal clinics to start preparing earlier for kitchen gardens to enable them to get a steady supply of quality vegetables a
nd herbs such as rosemary that enhance their health and save money for the family.

Further, she said food and nutrition security were at the focal point of achieving the 2030 goals, hence the need for the CHP to make it part of their primary education as they visit homes to enhance universal health care in their areas of influence.

Although undernourishment has declined globally, the 2023 UNICEF report on Kenya estimates that a quarter of Kenyan children under five are stunted. In matters of health, stunting is a major indicator of undernutrition, and it has injurious effects like diminished mental and physical development in children.

A nutritionist based in Nakuru city, Mary Njoki, said a number of families believe that as long as the children’s bellies are full of ugali or uji, they are doing their best to feed them. However, she said feeding babies and children with too much starch without proteins has many consequences, including stunting, frequent illnesses and poor performance at school.

Hence, equ
ipping and prioritising the well-being of communities hinges on nutritious foods that are within reach; therefore, the importance of kitchens or vertical gardens is because the longer the food travels, the greater the chances of contamination and loss of nutritional values.

Apart from the Ndundori CHPs, who are encouraging vertical gardens, the Elburgon CHPs have been provided with a farm near health centres where they grow and demonstrate nutritious vegetables to their communities.

Source: Kenya News Agency