Uganda loses $899m to malnutrition — study
By CHRISTABEL LIGAMI Special Correspondent
•In Uganda, about 110,220 children have died in the last five years due to malnutrition.
•An estimated 1.9 million people in Uganda are food insecure, while about 6.0 million are moderately food secure.
Uganda loses up to $899 million due to malnutrition every year, a new report shows.
Over 975,000 children under the age of five are experiencing cases of anaemia, acute diarrhoea syndrome (ADH), acute respiratory infection (ARI) and in some cases fever due to poor nutrition, says a Cost of Hunger in Africa (COHA) report, adding that malnutrition in children under five is one of the top 10 causes of morbidity and mortality after malaria, respiratory tract infections and diarrhoeal diseases in the country.
“For every additional case of child illness, both the health systems and families are faced with an additional economic cost to the country,” says the report.
The study conducted in four countries that included Uganda, Egypt, Ethiopia and Swaziland found that underweight children are more likely to die from nutrition related illnesses and in Uganda, about 110,220 children have died in the last five years due to malnutrition.
The COHA study estimated the additional cases of morbidities, mortalities that can be associated with under-nutrition before the age of five.
The model focused on the current population, identified the percentage of those populations who were undernourished before the age of five and then estimated the associated negative impacts experienced by the population in the current year.
An estimated 1.9 million people in Uganda are food insecure, while about 6.0 million are moderately food secure.
The COHA study also found that students who were malnourished as children had reduced cognitive capacity and were therefore more likely to repeat grades in school.
In Uganda, 12.2 per cent of the repetition rate of students were stunted as children compared with 9.1 per cent of the students who repeated who were not stunted as children.
According to the Uganda Demographic Health Survey, about 12 per cent of women in Uganda are malnourished, 38 per cent of children are underweight, 16 per cent are stunted and 6 per cent are wasted.
This is associated with poverty which is a cause of hunger, lack of adequate food and poor nutrition, lack of awareness of proper nutrition requirements and types of food to give to the children.