By Francis Emorut
Mothers are to blame for the increased cases of malnourished children in the country, an official from the Office of Prime Minister has said.
“In urban centres mothers are too busy to attend to their children but spend time on pedicure and only buy junk food for the children. You will find them packing sodas and not passion fruit juice for the children going to school,” Boaz Musiimenta, a senior policy analyst at the Office of Prime Minister, stated.
“In rural areas mothers abandon their children and go collecting firewood and digging and return home late and yet a child is supposed to be fed after every two hours. How do you expect a child not to be malnourished in such a situation?” Musiimenta, asked.
He was addressing participants in Kampala during a sensitisation meeting on nutritional challenges in Uganda.
The meeting attended by MPs was organised by Uganda national NGO Forum aimed at drumming support for the Nutrition Bill and scaling down rates of malnutrition in the country.
According to Uganda Demographic Health Survey 2011, 33% of children under age of five are stunted.
Musiimenta called for multi-sectoral approach to scale down malnutrition problem by involving MPs, government and civil society organisations.
At the meet, Kiboga East MP James Kiwalabye stressed the need of teaching children right from primary school on how to cook nutritious food so that when they grow up they will stick to it.
Butaleja Bunyole West MP Jacob Wangolo called for sensitization of the public on environment due to climate change.
He expressed concern that if environment issue is not addressed some people might die as a result of hunger.
Eunice Musiime, a team leader and advocacy officer at NGO forum, pointed out that it is estimated that sh1.8trillion is spent annually towards addressing child nutrition needs in the country.
Musiime cited “The Cost of Hunger Report 2013” released by World Food Programme and National Planning Authority which indicated that 47% of child deaths in country are associated to malnutrition.
Agnes Kirabo of VEDCO appealed to government and law makers to pass the Nutrition Bill to address malnutrition in the country.
Meanwhile, a national campaign of inclusion of agricultural extension in reducing hunger and malnutrition has been launched.
It was launched by Kiboga east MP Kiwalabye during a farmers forum in Kampala.
The campaign calls for enhancing capacity of current extension workers to carry out wider coverage, improving infrastructure so that farmers can access markets and regular training for extension workers.
The campaign was launched prior to World Food Day which is celebrated internationally on Oct 16.