From June 2018 to April 2020, Maximising the Quality of Scaling Up Nutrition Plus (MQSUN+) provided technical support to the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office ((FCDO), previously the Department for International Development/DFID) and UNICEF in Kenya to analyse progress in the implementation of the Kenya Nutrition Support Transition Programme and to examine the next steps following programme completion in March 2020. Activities included field visits, consultations with stakeholders and technical input to proposals, log-frames and monitoring and evaluation plans. This article presents observations of successes over the last 14 years and the remaining challenges in transitioning away from aid towards government-led, managed and financed nutrition services within the health system.

What we know: The Arid and Semi-arid Lands (ASALs) of Kenya have experienced 25 years of repeated drought-related emergencies and are dependent on short-term aid for nutrition response.

What this article adds: Since 2006, nutrition partners have combined efforts to transition from ‘aid’ to government led, managed and financed nutrition programming. Impressive gains have been driven by strong central government leadership framed by a health system strengthening approach.  Devolution, increased government investment at county level and an obligated requirement to build more resilience in the ASALs have enabled transition. Success factors include developing a common vision for nutrition, inclusive communication and coordination bridging humanitarian and development, securing sufficient human resources, embedding technical assistance into government ministries, improving nutrition information systems, securing longer-term financing and strengthening supply chains. Innovations included the community-based management of acute malnutrition (CMAM) surge approach that significantly increased utilisation/coverage of services. A minimum package of quality nutrition services is now offered every day in health centres. Challenges remain, including a reliance on external technical assistance and difficulties in ensuring long-term funding. A vision, clear criteria and formalised framework are now needed to guide transition from aid to development financing for nutrition in the health system.

Read the full article here: https://www.ennonline.net/fex/64/healthsystemstrengtheningkenya