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

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.