By Ismael Kasooha
60% of children below five years die annually in Uganda as a result of malnutrition statistics show.
Karamoja and Western Uganda have been cited as the most affected regions with stunted, wasted and underweight children in the country.
Boaz Musiimenta, the head of nutrition department in the Prime Minister’s office said statistics indicate that 45% of children in Karamoja are affected by malnutrition while in the western region it stands at 44%.
Musiimenta said that the community needs to be enlightened on food security in their homes if the problem is to be reduced in countrywide.
“It is not that people lack food in most parts especially in the western part but they are ignorant of the right food combinations,” said Musiimenta.
A team from the prime minister’s office, ministry of health and world health organization is traversing the country to raise awareness on the need to prioritize nutrition.
Agnes Chandia, head of nutrition in the ministry of health said good feeding and intensive breast feeding of children by mothers for the first 6 months after delivery is vital to prevent stunted growth of the children.
Chandia said that the Government is in final stages of implementing the 2011-2016 Uganda Nutrition Action plan which was launched by President Museveni early this year in all districts of Uganda.
“Some of the malnutrition cases are as a result of introduction of children to food because their mothers are not aware of the dangers,” said Chandia.
Though Kibaale district is known to be among the top food producing districts in Uganda, it has been revealed that its people are malnourished.
According to statistics, stuntedness in Western Uganda where Kibaale is inclusive stands at 44% while for Kibaale alone it stands at 33%.
As a result, Kibaale district leaders have been asked to campaign against stuntedness by promoting good nutrition at household level.
Chandia said that government launched the Uganda Nutrition action plan 2011-2016 with an aim of scaling up nutritional measures and practices.
The district health officer Kibaale Dr. Dan Kyamanywa said that due to malnutrition, children are performing poorly in academics and urged parents to feed their children on balanced diet which will also help to reduce on prevalence of preventable diseases.
George Bagonza Tinkamanyire, the district chairman called for observes that there is need to involve everybody especially the leaders in the struggle to end nutrition through empowering families’ incomes.
“If families are not empowered economically, malnutrition will not be addressed,” said Bagonza.
Bagonza was addressing participants at a nutrition orientation workshop at Resort hotel Hoima geared towards accelerating nutrition improvement in the region.
Bagonza called upon the central government to consider having the education sector on board to implement the Nutrition Action Plan 2011-2016 if they are to target the younger generation.