GOVERNMENT is losing an estimated sh1.8 trillion through poor labour productivity annually as an impact of having many stunted children. According to stats, 33% of Ugandan children are stunted
By Norman Katende
GOVERNMENT is losing an estimated sh1.8 trillion through poor labour productivity annually as an impact of having many stunted children.
Participants attending a workshop at Ridar Hotel in Seeta on Thursday were told that this loss is in terms of the cost of medications and not performing to their fully potential in their workforce.
The workshop attracted community development officers from 112 districts across the country.
The workshop was aimed at rolling out the nutrition communication strategy and early childhood Development Family package on food and nutrition. It was aimed at strengthening community mobilization structures around the country and the dissemination of knowledge so that they develop practices that will reduce malnutrition.
According to the UNICEF Chief of communication, Jaya Murthy, the statistics that come from a research done last year by the UN Agency and the Gender, Labour and social development ministry revealed that 33% of Ugandan children are stunted.
“This means that we have 2.2m children who are stunted and we believe that there is a need to address this issue and help save money for other development programmes,” said Murthy.
UNICEF nutrition specialist Nelly Birungi said that malnutrition is being caused by inadequate food and dietary intake, which is influenced by several factors including food security and poverty which compromise the child intake.
“Most of the children in this country do not feed on optimal foods. They are fed on a diet that basically has carbohydrates without other foods nutrients that can be got from things like groundnuts, peas and beans among others. We are looking at how we can be able to support communities and empower them to be able to prepare appropriate food for the children while taking into consideration what is available in the community,” said Birungi.
Charles Etoma, senior statistician at the ministry said that they are going to use the community groupings to help them mobilise and educate the masses about children nutrition.
“This is the only way we expect to have a breakthrough. At times malnutrition is not caused by lack of food but utilization of the foods we have to ensure that they do not sell all that they have food security,” said Etoma.
Sheeba Afghani, the UNICEF communication for development specialist said that early childhood nutrition helps saves the future repercussions like, mental lapses and general weakness.
Stunted children costing Uganda sh1.8 trillion