The Twaweza Sauti Zawanainchi livelihoods under COVID-19 survey says Children fed on the same food face higher risk of malnutrition.
COVID-19 pandemic may pose grave risks to the nutritional status and survival
of young children in Uganda.
Uganda joins the rest of the World to Mark World Food Day, surveys conducted
during the COVID-19 period lockdown and after suggest that children in some families
have not had adequate food nutrients.
food day is annual event marked by more than 150 countries. This year, the October
16 even comes as the world continues to battle against the covid-19
pandemic which has heaped strain on already fragile food systems, threatening
to push millions more into hunger.
theme Grow, nourish, sustain.
Together. Our actions are our future, this year's World Food Day calls
for more resilient and robust agri-food systems, and for global solidarity.
Twaweza and Food Rights Alliance survey data under “Livelihoods under COVID-19,
Food Supply and consumption” points a particular concern to an expected increase in child malnutrition
as result of steep declines in household incomes, changes in the availability
and affordability of nutritious foods.
survey data issued on Thursday indicate that in six out of ten households (61%) with young children (aged
6-12 months), the child(ren) eat the same food as the rest of the household.
found that in two out of ten households, such children have a different meal,
and a similar number (17%) are breastfed.
rural households close to seventy percent young children are more likely to
share the same food as everyone else.
Rights Alliance Executive Director, Agnes Kirabo says there is no doubt that
the COVID-19 pandemic has affected different households differently and
therefore had an effect on nutrition levels.
we are looking at food, we are looking at physical hunger and invisible hunger which
is called malnutrition our study is here to predict that in future when we go
out and measure our performance on malnutrition, trust me we are going to perform
worse than we have been performing because so many people went hungry” said
Cue In “When we are looking at…….
Out……. and so many people just ate to survive” /////
Kirabo says several studies have found that
poor nutrition undermines children’s physical and cognitive development.
She children who are not fed a variety
of nutritious foods at risk of poor brain development,
limited learning ability, low immunity, and increased infections.
survey found that Six out of
ten households (60%) say their daily food intake has got worse over the
previous month, compared to two out of ten (18%) who say their food intake has
Half of households according to the survey report
that the stocks of food currently at their home will last no more than a week.
According to Kirabo, the survey findings are not
surprising going by the state in which the majority of Ugandans were at the
time when the president announced the lockdown in March.
//// Cue IN “Our research findings…….
Cue Out…. because they did not have any food in stock”
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, UNICEF office
in Uganda said three out of 10 children
under five years in Uganda were ‘short for their age’ or stunted; 280,000 are
‘too thin’ or wasted.
UNICEF’s annual State of the World’s
Children report in 2019 found that over
53 per cent of children below five years of age are were anaemic.
Country Representative, Dr. Doreen
Mulenga then urged for greater attention to child nutrition given that half of
the country’s population was under the age of 18.
"Unfortunately, parents don’t always
know when their children are suffering from poor nutrition. Just two out of
every 10 babies aged 6-23 months in Uganda are fed a ‘balanced diet’.
Children’s diets in Uganda are predominantly starch-based and lack the critical
nutrients that children’s brains and bodies need to grow." said Mulenga
Moreover, the UNICEF report notes that
we’re seeing at global levels an increase in overweight and obesity among
children and adolescents. These children are also not eating the right
In July 2020, UNICEF, with the Food and
Agricultural Organization, the World Food Programme and the World Health
Organization issued a call to action in The
Lancet, warning of the pandemic’s potential to worsen
the pre-existing crisis of malnutrition and tip an additional 6.7 million
children over the edge to become wasted during its first year.