Impact of out -patient therapeutic program (otp) on the Nutrition status of severely malnourished children below five Years: a case or kasarani district in nairobi county
Due to poverty levels especially in the informal settlements in Nairobi County, many mothers are finding it difficult without the necessary safety nets that they can use to offer appropriate nutrition to their children. When a household cannot get enough food to eat or are hard pressed because of the harsh economic environment, children below five years are worse affected. Due to the prevalence of this problem in Nairobi County, the OTP program that seeks to improve the nutrition status of children below five years who are severely malnourished has been put in place. The main aim of this study was to establish the impact of the Outpatient therapeutic program on the nutrition status of children below five years of age in Nairobi County. The study looks at how the various aspects of the OTP program namely; nutrition and health education, supplementary and complementary feeding, monitoring and evaluation as well as home follow ups/home visits impact on the target population's nutrition status. The study used a correlational research design to study the relationship between different aspects of the independent variable, the OTP program and the dependent variable; nutritional status of children below five years in Kasarani district Nairobi County. The study utilized questionnaires and interview schedules to collect data from respondents. The Pearson correlation coefficient was therefore used to study the relationship between the different aspects of the outpatient therapeutic program on the dependent variable, the nutrition status of children of children below five years in Kasarani District of Nairobi County. The study established that there is a strong positive linear correlation between the nutrition status of children below five years who have been in the program and the health and nutrition education given to the caretakers in the program. The study equally established that there was a strong positive linear correlation between the Ready to Use Therapeutic Feeds given to children below five years and their nutrition status. Minor discrepancies in the implementation of the monitoring system in the program, shortfalls in the implementation of the follow up services and some other problems emanating from poor synchronization of the program were equally established and discussed. Consequently the study concluded that the program has had a positive impact on the nutrition status of the children considering that their frequency of sickness has gone down due to improved immune e system hence healthy living. The caretakers have equally gained lifetime knowledge on childcare that were to be instrumental in taking care of the children through their childhood. Sustainability of the intervention at the household level was however a challenge that must be dealt with through other measures of improving the general livelihoods of such persons.