At least 150,000 children in five districts will benefit from the multi-sectoral community-based nutrition programme, the UNICEF Nutrition Manager, Dr Abiud Omwega has said.
Under the programme being implemented in the districts of Kabale, Ibanda, Kanungu, Nebbi, Pader, Amuria, Katakwi and Namutumba, the children will be receiving complementary foods rich in vitamin.
Dr Omwega made the remarks last Thursday in Kampala during the launch of the Home Fortification using micro-nutrient powders that is aimed at improving the quality of feeding for children between 6 years and 23 months
The Programme was launched by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with World Food Programme (WFP), UNICEF and Strengthening Partnerships, Results and Innovations in Nutrition Globally, a USAID funded project.
Dr Jane Aceng, the director general health services, who was also the guest of honour, said: “In Uganda, the prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies is a public health concern with some deficiencies such as Aenemia as high as 63.8 per cent among children aged 6 – 23 months. The government of Uganda is promoting food fortification as one of the strategies to combat micronutrient deficiencies.”
Dr Winyi Kaboyo, the acting Commissioner Community Health, Ministry of Health explained that according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there is a realisation that micronutrient malnutrition contributes substantially to the global burden of disease.
“In 2000, the World Health Report identified iodine, iron, and vitamin A and zinc deficiencies as being among the world’s most serious health risk factors. Introduction of micro nutrient powders is part of the strategies to address the deficiencies,” Dr Kaboyo said.
The UNICEF nutrition manager, Dr Abiud Omwega, said the initiative is an opportunity to ensure that families in Uganda prioritise improving the quality of complimentary feeding using locally available foods.
The WFP country representative, Mr Micheal Dunford, said the initial distribution in the Eastern part of country received positive response and the beneficiaries reported that their children’s health standards have improved.
Mr Manohar Shenoy, the USAID chief of party, mentioned that Namutumba District will be piloting two distribution arms through the community by the Village Health Team members and the Health Facility–based distribution.
SOURCE: DAILY MONITOR