Lake Region Economic Bloc (LREB) member counties are committed on enhancing activities that promote and stimulate the upright growth of children within the bloc.

This was revealed Friday morning by the Chairperson of the LREB Council who is also the Kakamega County Executive Committee Member for Finance, Planning and ICT Dr. Beatrice Sabana during a Council meeting held at Golf hotel Kakamega.

Dr. Sabana was reacting to an in-depth presentation made by Dr. Elizabeth Okumu on promotion of child nurturing care practices and early learning through systems-based approach. Dr. Okumu is a member of the steering committee of Siaya County’s ‘Smart Start Siaya’ Program, an initiative that is aimed at developing children within the first 1000 days from birth.

The Chairperson congratulated Siaya County for initiating the ambitious programme which she deemed pivotal in the early development stages of a child. The program’s pillars are; nutrition, safety and security and responsive care giving among others.

“The module of this programme can assist in synergizing and adopting a standard model of operating by the LREB counties to improve the health of children within this bloc,” she said.

The CECM observed that in addition to the program, other member counties have also adopted other approaches to support young children such as Kakamega’s ‘Imaarisha Afya ya Mama na Mtoto’ Program popularly referred to as Oparanyacare Program that has immensely reduced child mortality rates within the County. The program that has over 50,000 beneficiary mothers has encouraged expectant mothers to deliver from health facilities hence increasing their chances of survival together with their babies.

Kakamega County CECM for Education, Science and Technology Dr. George Lutomia said the County has put emphasis on Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) that boasts of a current enrollment of 120,232 learners in all the 905 centres adding that the Government is in the process of implementing a feeding program for the young ones.

“Construction of 59 ECDE centres in this Financial Year is also on course as the County Government prepares to operationalize the teachers scheme of service,” he added.

Kakamega County Secretary and Head of Public Service Madam Jacinta Aluoch Odhiambo urged Siaya County to share the Bill that operationalises the Smart Start Program with member counties for domestication by respective counties. She also noted that identification and allocation of land for children to play and develop talents should be a priority by LREB member Counties.

The meeting was attended by LREB Council members (Finance CECMs, County Secretaries and the CEO who is the Secretary to the Council) as well as Madam Beatrice van der Velde, the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) representative for Germany and Kenya.

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