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Japan Injects USD 600,000 to Fight Malnutrition in Karamoja

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Poor diets, chronic food shortages, poor sanitation and high levels of diarrhoea and malaria were cited as major contributors to the situation. High workloads for mothers and therefore reduced time for breastfeeding and other childcare were also cited as driving malnutrition.
Ambassador of Japan Kazuaki Kameda

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The Japanese government has donated USD 600,000 (2.2 billion Shillings ) to boost nutrition and prevent infant and maternal mortality in the Karamoja region. The money was channelled through the World Food Program- WFP.

Karamoja already has high rates of stunting, where children are short for their age, low on immunity and often mentally impaired. Over 35 percent of children aged under five in the region are stunted. An integrated food security phase classification assessment conducted by WFP and its partners, between February and August 2020 discovered that life-threatening malnutrition rates were above emergency levels in Moroto and Napak district.

Poor diets, chronic food shortages, poor sanitation and high levels of diarrhoea and malaria were cited as major contributors to the situation. High workloads for mothers and therefore reduced time for breastfeeding and other childcare were also cited as driving malnutrition.According to the World Food Programme, such high rates of life-threatening and acute malnutrition combined with stunting put the futures of children at stake.                                              

 WFP Country Director, El-Khidir Daloum, who handed over the donation to Karamoja Affairs Minister Eng.  John Byabagambi said that combined with other contributions, Japan’s funding will provide 244 metric tons of enriched foods to 26,000 children aged under five, pregnant women and new mothers in the worst-hit Moroto and Napak Districts for at least three months.

WFP says that pregnant and nursing women need more nutrients including minerals and vitamins than other women because of changes in their bodies. Malnourished children also have a greater need for nutrients and are more likely to fall sick because of reduced immunity and are at higher risk of death.

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Karamoja Affairs Minister John Byabagambi said Japan has joined other partners like South Korea who earlier on donated USD 300,000. He explained that malnutrition levels in the country shot up because of the COVID19 pandemic because many people stopped working and attending to their farms. 

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He says the donation will provide nutritious food to over 26,000 people in Napak and Moroto for three months and called for more support from development partners so as to extend help to other districts in the region.

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