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Dr. Rath Health Foundation

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Call by National and Nutrition Council to speed up implementation of nutrition policy in Uganda

The National Food and Nutrition Council has appealed to President Yoweri Museveni to intervene and speed up the formulation of the National Food and Nutrition Policy to save thousands of children from dying of malnutrition.

“The President has not yet been properly sensitised about the urgency of the policy. The major cause of the delay is deciding where the secretariat should locate the council,” Abbey Sewali Kalule, the secretary of the council, said.

Kalule said a rivalry between the ministries of health and agriculture had delayed the take-off of the policy.

“Since 1989, we have been trying to get this policy to become law but officials in each ministry argue that they should house the secretariat causing work on the policy to be abandoned,” he said.

“We are of the opinion that to get things moving, the secretariat should be housed in the Prime Minister’s office which is a neutral location,” Kalule added.

Meanwhile, officials from the Plan for the Modernisation of Agriculture (PMA) are proposing that the secretariat be housed within the PMA secretariat.

Dr. Joyce Kikafunda, a senior lecturer at Makerere University and head of the Department of Food Science and Technology, said the levels of malnutrition in most parts of the country were at alarming levels despite the availability of food.

She told an audience at Hotel Equatoria that almost 500,000 children would die of malnutrition between 2000-2005.

The economic loss to the country in the same period is estimated at US$1.65b due to protein energy malnutrition as well as Vitamin A, iodine and iron and other deficiencies.