31,500 cartons of therapeutic food donated by the UK Government, released to drought affected counties in Kenya

The ready to use therapeutic food will enable treatment of over 31,000 children with severe malnutrition in the most affected counties

12 July 2022
Flag off of RUTF

Nairobi, 12 July 2022 – This morning, part of a consignment of 31,500 cartons of Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) was officially flagged off to drought affected counties at Afya House in Nairobi. The lifesaving nutrition commodity was procured by UNICEF through a donation by the UK Government in support of the Government of Kenya’s response to the ongoing drought. The boxes of therapeutic foods were flagged off by Dr Rashid Aman, Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS), Ministry of Health, representing the Cabinet Secretary, Mutahi Kagwe; Nick Dyer, the Director General, Humanitarian and Development at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, H.E. Jane Marriott, the UK High Commissioner to Kenya, and Jean Lokenga, the UNICEF Kenya Deputy Representative.

“The Government of Kenya is grateful to the UK Government and UNICEF for this generous donation and overall support in efforts to assist drought affected communities in Kenya,” CS Mutahi Kagwe said. “This comes at a critical time when over half a million children in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands are in dire need of treatment for acute malnutrition as a result of the drought,” he added.

“I have just visited Wajir where I met with families affected by the drought. The UN estimates 4.1 million people are suffering from the impact of the drought and are in need of support. We know climate change is driving these worsening droughts. The cartons of therapeutic food we have flagged off today, will be used to treat severely malnourished children in drought-affected communities in Wajir, Mandera, Isiolo and Turkana,” Director General, Humanitarian and Development at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, Nick Dyer, said.

“Kenya remains our key strategic partner in the region and we are pleased to continue with our unwavering support in the drought-affected areas.” he added.

Kenya is experiencing a prolonged and severe drought situation as a result of 4 consecutive failed rainy seasons. This has been driven by climate change and comes on top of the COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented situation. The Government of Kenya is leading on the drought response both at the national and county levels with support from UNICEF and other partners.

With financial support from the UK Government, UNICEF has procured 31,500 cartons of RUTF that are benefitting over 31,000 children in Mandera, Turkana, Wajir, Marsabit, Garissa, Samburu, and Isiolo Counties. Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) is a life-saving essential food that treats severe malnutrition in children under five years old. It comes packaged in form of a ready-to-eat peanut paste, fortified with vital vitamins and minerals.

“The therapeutic foods that we are flagging off today and other batches that have already gone out, will undoubtedly save the lives of children affected by the drought, one of the worst we have seen in decades,” UNICEF Kenya Deputy Representative, Jean Lokenga said. “In addition to these supplies, the significant support from the UK Government and our collaboration with the Government of Kenya, has helped us facilitate a response that enables early detection and referral of malnourished children through mass screening in drought affected counties and reached over 239,000 children. However, due to the severity of the crisis, malnutrition rates remain high, well above emergency levels. More needs to be done to support affected communities. UNICEF remains steadfast in supporting the Government of Kenya in responding to the current drought. The time to act is now.”

Photos and video

You can download photos of the flag off event here.

Media contacts

Mburugu Gikunda
Media Advisor
Ministry of Health
Tel: 0722521366
Joy Wanja Muraya
Communication Specialist
Tel: 0721 466 267


UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org. For more information about COVID-19, visit www.unicef.org/coronavirus . Find out more about UNICEF’s work on the COVID-19 vaccines here, or about UNICEF’s work on immunization here.