The impact of a nutrition and health programme on the socio-economic status and food access of households in Suba District, Kenya.

King’olla B, Ohiokpehai O, Mbithe D. 2009

Poor nutrition and ill health affect the productivity, livelihoods and food access of a household.This study investigated the impact of a nutrition and health programme on the socioeconomic status andfood access of households in Suba district, Kenya.Methodology and results: Action research design was utilized that involved comparison of the baseline andimpact evaluation results after a three-year intervention period. A sample size of 291 randomly selectedhouseholds from a community whose main economic activity is fishing was used. Data collectioninstruments included a structured questionnaire, focus group discussion guide and an observationchecklist. Data was analyzed using SPSS computer package version 16. A P-value of <0.05 wasconsidered significant. Over a three-year period, household size increased from 4.8 to 5.5. Education levelsimproved insignificantly (P>0.05) while income levels improved with monthly maternal income improvingfrom a minimum of Ksh. 100 to 300 (1.5 to 4.0 US dollars). About 89.6 and 3.4% of households obtainedfood from own produce and purchase combined with assistance, respectively. About 51.2, 3 and 64%reported to consider their households food secure when there was clear moonlight as the fishermen in theirhouseholds were assured of a good fish catch, at the end of the month when households had some cashincome, and if they harvested between 2 to 5 bags of maize (each 90kg), per season, respectively. Morethan a third (32.6%) of the respondents were involved in small business while 50.9 and 16.5% wereinvolved in actual fishing and farming, respectively. Only 6.2% of the respondents had access to creditfacilities. After 3 years, food consumption patterns did not change significantly from the baseline. Sanitationand morbidity patterns did not improve significantly at the households albeit with nutrition and healtheducation, with 27.5 and 30.9% not having latrines and refuse disposal bins/pits, respectively. Thehouseholds bathed, washed and drew drinking water from the same point in Lake Victoria.Conclusion and potential application of findings: Nutrition and health programmes have potential to improvethe socioeconomic status and household food access depending on content coverage of the programmes.

Cite as: Journal of Applied Biosciences. Vol. 21. pp. 1226-1236.

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