Nairobi- Kenya (PANA) -- In a bid to curb the acute shortage of nutrition personn el in Kenya, the ministry of medical services will recruit more nutritionists to meet demand, Medical Services Minister Anyang' Nyong'o has said.
Speaking during the National Nutrition and HIV Day at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) here Friday, Nyong'o said that the government was com m itted to improve the nutritional and clinical outcomes of HIV-infected Kenyans b y building on the gains made through the various collaborative efforts.
"One of the major challenges facing nutrition is acute shortage of nutrition per sonnel in the country coupled with the high demand for the same especially due t o HIV/AIDS.
Currently there are only 650 nutritionists in Kenya and my ministry i s in the process of increasing the numbers to meet the demand," Nyong'o said.
He noted that the HIV prevalence based in the recently-released Kenya AIDS Indic ator Survey Report (KAIS) indicated that the prevalence rate had increased from 6 .
1 per cent last year against the background of high malnutrition levels.
The minister revealed that according to the Kenya demographic health survey 2003 , 30 per cent of children under the age of five years were moderately stunted an d 20 per cent underweight.
In his speech, US deputy ambassador Pamela Slutz said the US government had set aside more than US$ 500 million for HIV/AIDS prevention, care, support and treat m ent activities in Kenya this fiscal year.
She noted that the USAID Nutrition and HIV programme had scaled up nutrition and HIV services which had led to over 50,000 people being served with nutritional s upplements, over 300 health workers trained and 60 health facilities supplied wi t h nutrition equipment and supplements.
Slutz said that good nutrition required a wide sector approach with well coordin ated efforts from different sectors and stakeholders.
She urged the Kenyan government to move a step further to improve the nutritiona l status of all people especially those living with HIV.
She also urged the government to embark on effective public/private partnerships to augment the current nutrition and HIV activities.