Report on Childhood Disability and Malnutrition in Turkana/Kenya

Report on Childhood Disability and Malnutrition in Turkana/Kenya
16 Oct 2014

CBM in collaboration with the International Centre for Evidence in Disability at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, as well as the Kenyan Red Cross conducted a research study in the Horn of Africa crisis region about “Childhood Disability and Malnutrition in Turkana/Kenya”. The aim of the study was to assess whether children with disabilities were included within humanitarian and food security response programmes in Turkana, and whether there is an association between disability and malnutrition.

The study found that:
I.    Children with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition. This is likely to be because:
  • Children with disabilities were less likely to be included in the School Feeding Programmes.
  • Children with disabilities were twice as likely to report feeding difficulties.
  • Disability as a consequence of malnutrition was relatively common.
  • Families with children with disabilities may have more difficulties accessing aid or undertaking productive work.
  • Children with disabilities may face neglect, or reduced access to care.
II.    Exclusion of children with disabilities from education is a major issue in post emergency situations: Only 62% of children with disabilities aged 5+ attended school, compared to 93% of children without disabilities. Children who did not go to school were not included in school feeding programmes.
III.    The study calls for efforts to be made to include children with disabilities in food supplementation programmes. School based programmes may be inadequate to meet this need.
“This study emphasises that food security responses need to be more inclusive of children with disabilities, taking into consideration specific feeding needs as well as the mere availability of the support beyond school feeding programmes,'' says Christiane Noe, our research manager. ''The study highlights that more inclusive food security measures need to be practiced and promoted in humanitarian situations and beyond by organisations worldwide.''