Major nutrition programme launched in Karamoja region of Uganda

26 November 2018

Major nutrition programme launched in Karamoja region of Uganda

The Karamoja Nutrition Programme, funded by UK aid and implemented by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), will strengthen the Government’s health system to ensure children and mothers across the region receive high-quality health and nutrition services and are better nourished.

“Uganda is grateful to the Government of the United Kingdom, which has invested approximately £28 million (US$36 million) in Karamoja. It is now important for all leaders at the central and local government levels to own the changes that this new programme will bring to the health system in Karamoja and ensure that we sustain them over the long term,” said Hon. John Byabagambi, Minister for Karamoja.

The programme supports all District Local Governments in Karamoja to: develop the skills of nutritionists and health workers; improve the treatment of acute malnutrition in hospitals, health centres and communities; generate evidence to improve the design of nutrition services; procure and manage quality nutrition supplies; and provide more effective nutrition leadership and coordination across all Government departments and partners.

“Working to strengthen the Government’s health system, with strong district leadership and engagement, presents an opportunity for Karamoja to address its malnutrition challenge,” said Francesca Stidston, the Acting Head of Office for the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) in Uganda.

With 84 percent of people in Karamoja unable to afford a nutritious daily diet, 45 percent of households having limited access to food, and over half of all households not having much diversity in their diet, malnutrition is a major impediment to Karamoja’s development, undermining the health and economic prospects of the population.

“Considering more than 1 in 3 children in Karamoja experience stunted development due to malnutrition, this programme is timely in that it will help to ensure that children access higher quality nutrition services, which are essential to their survival and healthy development,” said Dr. Doreen Mulenga, UNICEF’s Representative in Uganda.

The programme will support: over 100,000 malnourished children under the age of 5 with a community based supplementary feeding programme; nearly 15,000 severely malnourished children with specialized treatment in hospitals and health centres; 140,000 children to receive Vitamin A supplements and deworming medication twice a year; and around 70,000 pregnant or breastfeeding women with iron folic acid supplements to treat anaemia.

At the launch, the leadership from Karamoja’s eight districts – Abim, Amudat, Kaabong, Kotido, Moroto, Napak, Nakapiripirit and Nabilatuk – as well as leaders from the Ministry of Karamoja Affairs committed to ensure that all pillars of the programme are fully integrated within the health sector and are effectively planned and budgeted for after the programme ends in three years.

Original source: FAO
Published on 26 November 2018