A recent survey done by the Ministry of Health indicates that underweight and malnutrition contribute to 50% of mortality in children under the age 5.
To address this, the United Nations Children’s Fund and the Ministry of Health launched a pilot phase to integrate nutrition supplies into the National Essential Medicines and Health Supplies System.
This is intended to improve the availability of nutrition supplies and reduce stock outs at health facilities in the West Nile Region, majorly in 7 districts where the pilot phase is to e carried out. These include; Adjumani, Arua, Koboko, Moyo, Madi Okollo, Obongi and Yumbe.
“This will enhance our efforts against maternal, neonatal and the under 5 mortality due to acute malnutrition. Patients dealing with chronic diseases like TB, HIV/AIDS, and diabetes also require these supplements. These cover nutritional deficiencies like iron, calcium, vitamins among others,” said Dr. Diana Atwine, the Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary.
Dr Verocia Berdaga, Chief of Child Survival and Development- UNICEF Uganda said that for several years, UNICEF has been closely working with Ministry of Health, National Medical Stores and partners to harmonise and integrate nutrition commodities into the government’s supply chain system.
“Ensuring the availability and access to ready to use Therapeutic Food and other key inputs requires a well coordinated supply system,” she said.
She also said that UNICEF will continue working with partners to end preventable maternal and child mortality, promote better child health and nutrition for children and the population at large.
Dr Charles Olaro, Director Health Services, MoH said, “We welcome all forms of integration and government ownership. This Nutrition Supply Pilot will not only improve access to commodities but also accountability.”