Nutrition: Malnutrition threatens to destroy a generation of children in Uganda. More than one third of all young children are stunted. The damage caused by stunting is irreversible. Half of children under five and one quarter of child-bearing-age women are anaemic. The problem persists despite a drop in stunting and anaemia rates in recent years.
Causes of malnutrition
Whether poor or rich, children can get malnourished for several reasons. In some cases, women tend to get pregnant at a young age and end up delivering low birth-weight babies, which predisposes them to malnutrition. Recurrent childhood infections such as diarrhoea and low breastfeeding rates also lead to wasting and stunting in children. There are scenarios where the families are either too poor or do not know how to give their children a healthy diet.
Statistics concerning malnutrition in Uganda
Between 2013 and 2015, more than 500,000 young Ugandan children died. Of these deaths, nearly half were due to under nutrition. Under nutrition is responsible for four in every 10 deaths of children under five years. The 2012 study, Cost of Hunger in Uganda, estimated the health cost of children’s under nutrition-related illnesses (for those under five) to be more than UGX 525 billion, most of which was used for treating under nutrition and associated illnesses. It was also estimated that under nutrition costed Uganda 1.8 trillion UGX, an equivalent of 5.6 per cent of its GDP annually.
Effects of malnutrition
Malnutrition increases health care and education costs due to repetition of classes and treatment. It also causes reduction in productivity which traps families in a vicious cycle of poverty. Additionally, many children lose their lives due to malnutrition, particularly deficiency diseases.
Possible solutions for malnutrition by Pamoja Health Initiative
The causes of malnutrition are complex and thus we must address them in a holistic and coordinated manner.
Pamoja Health Initiative seeks to reduce the cases of malnutrition and its impacts especially in the remote areas of Uganda. Some of the strategies for this cause include: investing in high-impact, nutrition-specific and sensitive activities and policies, encouraging strong leadership and capacity, setting major goals for the cause and evaluation of results, putting in place fundraisers to provide food for families, making partnerships with concerned stakeholders and others.
We also aim at contributing to the improvement in reproductive, maternal, neonatal and child health services. Additionally, we will advocate, locally and with the government, to improve infant and child feeding care and practice and to increase funding for nutrition.
Pamoja Health Initiative has various objectives in place that aim at improving child care in Uganda especially among those children that stay in hard to reach areas.
We believe that every child deserves a healthy and fulfilling childhood and life and therefore all possible efforts should be made to accomplish that goal.
You could also be a part of this impactful cause by booking a safari with Pamoja Tours and Travel. 5% of the profits from the safaris go to the Pamoja Health Initiative. We use them to work on projects such as boosting the immunity of children and distribution of food in various underprivileged communities.