Tooro struggles with malnutrition

He said nutrition committees should ensure they have action plans.

Fort Portal: Despite Tooro sub region being regarded as the food basket for Uganda, malnutrition rate is very high at 38.7 percent which nearly doubles the national rate which is at 24 percent

This is according to Uganda demographic Health survey [UDHS] of 2022 which puts Tooro sub region in the third position after Kigezi which is at 41.5 percent and the leading being Karamoja which is at 43.9 percent.

This prompted an official from ministry of local government to get worried saying this affects productivity and development of the country.

According to Samuel Galiwango a nutrition focal person in the ministry of local government, stuntedness as a result of malnutrition in children under five years is irreversible and is related to child brain development.

“Its really shocking that with food produced in Tooro sub region, the rate at which children are stunted is very high. A lot needs to be done because we are killing our next generation and this is very unfortunate. Stunting can lead to lower IQ and impaired brain development which can affect development of the country” Galiwango said.

He was speaking during an orientation training of members of the nutrition coordination committee from Kabarole and Fort Portal on nutrition governance that was held at Ataco country resort in Fort Portal city from Monday to Friday.

With support from Iles de paix [IDP], Kabarole Research and Resource Centre [KRC-Uganda], the ministry of local government oriented the Fort Portal city and Kabarole district Nutrition coordination committees on sectoral nutrition governance.

“Government is spending a lot of money treating these people and yet they just need to change their eating habits. I call upon all leaders in this region to come together and fight this epidemic [malnutrition]” he said.

Galiwango said government has identified  that in Tooro sub region there is need for creating an enabling environment by putting in place the necessary committees where stakeholders of government who include religious leaders and cultural leaders to forge a way.

“As government, we are building capacity to create an enabling environment for scaling up nutrition interventions in the country. We are building capacity in terms of nutrition governance” he said.

He said they are looking at the aspects of budgeting, planning, financing and institutional development in terms of putting in place the necessary structures to implement the 2nd Uganda Nutrition Action Plan [UNAPII] which is their strategic plan for scaling up nutrition in the country.

He said nutrition committees should ensure they have action plans.

He implored all districts to ensure that they put in place sustainability plans for programs and activities on multi-sectoral project.

“As leaders, you really need to take the mantle because as of now there are no sustainability plans in this region” Galiwango revealed.

Eric Oteba Eric, a Food systems  and nutrition programmes manager at KRC said during orientation, they were able to look at the roles of local government in nutrition coordination, Uganda Nutrition Action Plan II [UNAPII] strategic direction and its implementation matrix as well as coordination structure for nutrition governance at local government level.

“Nutrition coordination committees at all level now know their terms of reference, their functionality assessment, nutrition stakeholder mapping, nutrition financial and budget gap analysis and monitoring and evaluation system” he said.

KRC is a non-governmental organisation that strengthens community-centered development processes to enable grassroots-oriented stakeholders to generate relevant ideas and skills for development.

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