By Vision Reporter
Malnourishment remains a big a challenge to the growth of children in Namutumba district.
Speaking to New Vision during a campaign on the challenges of education in the district recently, a senior nursing officer at the district, Charles Mwesigwa disclosed that about 50% of the children were malnourished.
He said according to their baseline survey carried out in the district last year, 41% of the children were found to be stunted. Many of the children are too short, look dry with hollow eyes.
Mwesigwa attributed the problem to the poor feeding. "Many families survive on one meal a day which is not even balanced. Many mothers do not breastfeed their children sufficiently as required which affects children's growth," he added.
He pointed out that many couples do not visit healthy centers to know their health status which is another big problem.
"About 70% of the children in primary schools study on empty stomachs. They only survive on one meal from home which is usually supper. This has greatly affected their learning. Such children are always sickly and doze in class thus dropping out of school. Malnutrition has greatly affected the performance of our children in schools," he added.
Namutumba district was ranked third last in the 2012 national Primary Leaving Examinations results with only 158 first grades.
Mwesigwa explains that some nutrients like Vitamin A are necessary for the growth and developing the child's mind. He said according to their findings, only 60% of the children access Vitamin A supplements.
He said malnourished children always have brains that are not fully developed, adding that such children always find problems in memorizing what they have studied and are likely to make mistakes often.
He said the district is working with partners like ActionAid to sensitize people about proper feeding of children. "We sensitize locals through health education on the foods they must feed their children. We also provide Vitamin A supplements to those already affected," he said.
The district is also working with Malstock Uganda to deal with the nutrition supplements and NAADS to address the problem of food security in the area.
The district also set up a Nutrition Centre in Magada Sub County to handle the training of health care workers and locals.
According to the Uganda National Household Survey 2009/10, stunted children have a higher grade repetition rate of 12.2%. One out of every three young children in Uganda are too short for their age, according to the 2011 Uganda Demographic and Health Survey (UDHS).
Half of Namutumba children malnourished