Jinja: Malnutrition is still a threat in Busoga region even after several campaigns have been done to sensitize people.
Malnutrition refers to excesses in nutrient intake, imbalance of essential nutrients or impaired nutrient utilization. The double burden of malnutrition consists of both under nutrition, overweight, and obesity, as diet related non communicable diseases. Under nutrition manifests in four forms; wasting, stunting, underweight and micronutrient deficiencies.
According to a report by BMC public health, Uganda is among the East African countries with the highest number of undernutrition. About 29 percent or 3 in 10 children below 5 years are stunted while about 3.5 percent of all children below 5 years of age in Uganda are faced with body wasting.
Ndegeya Kizito a nutritionist at Nalufenya children’s hospital explains that children and adults with this condition have symptoms like weight loss,lack of appetite or interest in food or drinks,tiredness and irritability,an inability to concentrate, always feeling cold,loss of fat,muscle mass and body tissue,weak immune systems,wounds take long to heal.
“Some of these children in most cases are neglected by their parents or guardians. They are also exposed to contaminated water, highly unhygienic environments, poor food practices where by these children are fed with foods that lack nutrients, also 56 percent households in Busoga region are food insecure which is a major cause of stunting in children,” he said.
He added, malnutrition is caused by high food prices especially in Urban areas, low agricultural productivity, climate change like drought and hail storms can lead to shortage of food supply, landlessness, natural disasters like floods, lack of education and the fact that most people in Busoga depend on agriculture as their main source of income.
Other immediate causes of malnutrition are inadequate dietary intake and diseases which are caused by food insecurity, inadequate care for women and children, insufficient health services and unsanitary environments.
“Expectant mothers should always attend antenatal sessions and take their medications, eat iron rich foods such as green leafy vegetables, eggs and meat to prevent and treat anemia,
“We are working with the ministry of health to see that they receive referrals from all over the region, ensure appropriate utilization of food by prevention, treatment of diseases and WASH practices,” he said.
Mr Kabajungu Kallen, a nutritionist at Miracle Wellness Centre in Jinja said, ” The best way to prevent malnutrition especially in children can be done through; giving children protein rich foods like fish, eggs and meat. Maintaining proper hygiene while preparing food stuffs, giving children enriched porridge like millet porridge mixed with milk can be good for health of the children. Frequent consumption of fruits like mangoes and bananas should also be a top priority while preventing malnutrition.”
“Parents should practice child spacing especially in rural areas where people over give birth yet the young ones they have are not yet fully grown, she said, emphasizing that malnutrition can weaken brain development of children, increase risk of maternity and perinatal mortality, vitamin A deficiency causes blindness and that parents should take caution.