Improving nutrition health in our communities with JW Seagon

Throughout 2019, the JW Seagon team partnered with Ol Pejeta and county government to conduct health outreach in the communities surrounding us. The well-being of our communities is a top priority in all that we do. We have a dedicated team that ensures that issues concerning health, education, agriculture are addressed as they arise.

Health is a major concern for the communities living on the semi-arid plains of Laikipia. Issues like lack of access to clean water and health centers as well as poverty have heavily contributed to the persistent health problems witnessed here. We aim to focus on the causes as much as the symptoms so that we can eradicate the issue at its core. This has meant working with community health volunteers who reside within and are better placed to understand what is needed and how we can create solutions.

Last year we took on a jigger campaign that was aimed at reducing the number of children missing out on school due to the discomfort caused by the parasite. The campaign included house fumigation and hygiene education to prevent the recurrence of the parasite. We are looking to cover more households this year which will hopefully translate into more children getting an education.

We also held weekly health outreaches that mainly targeted women and children who are the most affected by a lack of accessible healthcare. Many households are supported by women and suffer when their breadwinner is unable to work which leads to extreme poverty and deterioration of the community as a whole. The outreaches treat minor cases and support referral of patients who may need serious treatment.

The frequent health checks have pointed out the damage that poor nutrition is causing to the community’s health. Being an area occupied by a lot of pastoralists, the main diet is milk and red meat. Lack of incorporation of important nutrients has led to many cases of malnutrition across all ages. Our last health outreach focused on screening for nutrition-related ailments. Out of the 101 people screened 32 needed immediate treatment and were enrolled in the nutrition programme which involves biweekly follow-ups by our community health volunteers for three months.

We hope to expand into more communities and educate more people on the importance of a balanced diet and demonstrate that it can be achieved affordably from homegrown or locally available foods.