Monday, November 26, 2018

£28 million from UK government to support nutrition in Uganda

By Esther Nakkazi

The UK government has launched the Karamoja Nutrition Programme worth £28 million pounds which will improve the delivery of quality nutrition services across Karamoja.

84 percent of people in Karamoja are unable to afford a nutritious daily diet, 45 percent of households have limited access to food, and over half of all households do not have much diversity in their diet. 

Malnutrition, therefore, remains a major impediment to Karamoja’s development, undermining the health and economic prospects of the population. More than 1 in 3 children in Karamoja experience stunted development due to malnutrition.

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, 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.

The programme supports all District Local Governments in Karamoja to develop the skills of nutritionists and health workers; improve the treatment of severe acute malnutrition in hospitals and health centres; 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 Head of Office for the Department for International Development (DFID) in Uganda.
"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 anemia.

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.

“The Karamoja Nutrition Programme is a continuation of the Government of Uganda and development partners’ march to end child stunting in Uganda,” said WFP’s Country Director El-Khidir Daloum.

“We are outraged by the level of stunting in Karamoja, which remains unacceptably high. Ending stunting is mission possible,” Daloum said.

While child stunting has reduced by roughly one percent every year in Karamoja since 2006, 35 percent of all children under the age of 5 in Karamoja are still stunted.

The Karamoja Nutrition Programme compliments other programmes in Karamoja, such as the Karamoja Resilience Support Unit supported by USAID, Irish Aid, and UK aid and GIZ’s programme to improve the reliability of water supply and sanitation in selected health centers, which collectively contribute to a comprehensive multi-sectoral nutrition response to all people across Karamoja.

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