NAIROBI, March 19 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan health experts on Tuesday called for adoption of open data system to help solve nutrition problems in the country.
The experts said that the use of open data will enable nutritionists to get real-time information on malnutrition from rural parts of Kenya and help lower the number of children who are suffering.
"Nutrition problem is a major challenge to achieving the country's vision 2030 and sustainable development goals (SDGs) Kenya," Esther Omosa, senior nutrition specialist at the Feed the Future, Kenya accelerated value chain development program, said during a forum in Nairobi.
Omosa said that cases of stunting, underweight and anemia are on the rise in children in the country, adding that currently about 26 percent of children aged five years are suffering from stunting hence the need to intensify nutrition programs through an open data system.
"We need open data system to avail information on food consumption, especially fruits and vegetables to keep populations healthy," she added.
Omosa told the forum convened by African Centre for Advanced Technology and Technical Centre for Agricultural that food production is declining in the country because farmers lack necessary data on weather and seeds.
She called for the development of comprehensive programs on data needed by developing people's capacity.
The experts call for re-allocation of funds, employment of qualified staff and partnership engagement to help improve the current status.
Boniface Akuku, director of Information, Communication and Technology at Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Organization, said that the technology will make it easier for experts to gather information and act within a short time.
Akuku said that once open data is fully operationalized in the country, cases of malnutrition in far flung rural areas will end as information will be received and acted upon on time.
"With the advent of computers, information gathering has been automated on data form for easier communication," Akuku said.
The official revealed that a lack of up-to-date data is to blame for delayed action by policy makers who lack data to make decisions.