The Greater Horn of Africa is currently facing the worst drought in recent decades, placing millions at risk of acute hunger. Along with years of conflict and instability in the region, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and rising food prices, the drought has dramatically affected food insecurity, malnutrition rates, the spread of communicable diseases, and the service coverage and effectiveness of health services.
The Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) requested assistance to the Greater Horn of Africa Drought and Food Insecurity Emergency Response in July 2022. I was offered a position as Nutrition Expert in support of the WHO Country Office in Nairobi, Kenya, and headed off, excited to contribute to such a significant situation.
During emergencies such as this, malnutrition rates and mortality often increase dramatically. Those who are already malnourished are more susceptible to illness and death. Upon arriving, it was clear to me that the nutrition situation in Kenya had significantly deteriorated since the same season the previous year, which emphasized the importance of considering nutrition actions as an integrated part of the emergency response. As a Nutrition Expert, my task was to provide technical support to the WHO Country Office and their partners in the planning and implementation of the nutrition programme.
This will give a glimpse into some of the main nutrition actions during the two-month deployment in Kenya:
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