A new policy on nutrition optimally focusing on the prevention of nutrient loss and waste across the food system was launched on Tuesday at Common Wealth Resort in Munyonyo, Kampala.
The high level event with participators from World Food Program, academics from universities across the globe, Ministers and agriculture partners was hosted by the Office of the Prime Ministe, the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition.
The launch was officiated by the State Minister for Northern Uganda Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny who represented the General Duties’ Minister, Mary Karoro Okurut.
Uganda’s Demographic and Health Survey (UDHS) of 2016 shows that despite sustained economic growth and poverty reduction over the past 20 years, 29 percent of children under the age of 5 are stunted, 11 percent.
The country is on track to meet the World Health Assembly targets for wasting and overweight in children but the targets on stunting of children under 5, anemia in women of reproductive age and obesity and diabetes remain big challenges.
Minister Kwiyucwiny noted that 40 percent of food is lost during harvest, mainly vegetables and fruits, affects nutrition.
“Going by the studies done by different bodies, 40 of our food are lost during harvest. The loss of most nutritious vegetables and fruits good for our body diets should be addressed,” said Kwiyucwiny.
The Minister remarked that sending children to school without food is also affecting nutrition and greatly responsible for adverse effects.
“Some or many of the children are sent to school without food. They can stay hungry up to 4pm making them susceptible to malnutrition and its effects,” she added.
Studies also show that only 15 percent of children aged between 6-23 months are being fed a minimum acceptable diet.
Meanwhile 53 percent of children age 6-59 months, 32 percent of women and 16 percent of men age 15 to 49 years are anemic. 24 percent of women and 9 percent of men age 15-49 are overweight or obese.
The new policy among others calls on governments to calculate the direct and indirect costs of malnutrition in all its forms to guide nutrition plans.