Dr Emma Gahima, the in-charge of Bugobero Health Center IV and Manafwa District Nutrition focal person says that the health facility has received an average of 5 cases of malnourished children aged between zero and five and people living with HIV/AIDS, in the weeks after the lockdown restrictions were eased.
Health officials in Manafwa district have reported an escalation of food insecurity, poverty and cases of malnutrition
among the marginalized groups during the time of the COVID-19 lockdown.
Dr Emma Gahima, the in-charge of
Bugobero Health Center IV and Manafwa District Nutrition focal person says that the health facility
has received an average of 5 cases of malnourished children aged
between zero and five and people living with HIV/AIDS, in the weeks after the lockdown restrictions were eased.
Gahima adds that he has also received several alerts from village health teams about children who are
suffering from malnutrition and have no means of moving to the health facility due to lack of transport. He says that the lockdown, which left a number of people jobless, exacerbated the situation because many of them cannot move
to look for food and health care services due to the ban on public transport.
He adds that initially, the nutrition team, together with Village Health Teams carried out outreach programmes in villages in which residents were taught about family planning as one of the
strategies in curbing malnutrition. However, with the current restrictions, this cannot be done.
//Cue in; “After Covid people are…
Cue out:…in a balanced diet.”//
Although the ban on both public and private transport was
lifted in many parts of the country, districts at the Ugandan border remained under lockdown as a measure against the spread of the
COVID-19 pandemic. Manafwa district, in Eastern Uganda, is one of those where transport is still restricted.
"These parents would move from their distant villages to this
health centre to both medical support and nutritional services that the health facility was offering. But now they cannot move, that is why you see
many of them have remained at home to continue suffering,” Dr Gahima said.
Gahima also told Uganda Radio network that the Malnutrition clinic
that ran a very week to support the malnourished patients with food was closed because the staff who were operating it
were unable to reach the facility.
Cue in; “We didn’t have…
Cue out…on the Covid19.”//
He adds that the impacts of the problem will be visible in
future when affected children are unable to offer productive services due to
the impact of malnutrition which started at a tender age.
//Cue in; “But the actual impact…
Cue out…these mothers economically.”//
Robert Wekesa, a Village Health Team
Worker says that many malnourished children are stuck in the villages over lack
of transport since their parents are unable to move from the villages to the
health facilities and that many of them end up dying. He said many of them have been
seeking help from the malnutrition clinic that has since been closed.
//Cue in; “Nga wazile mushaalo…
Cue out…bali Kufa.”//
Simon Malaki, a resident of Buwamayi
II village, Madenge village in Mayefe sub-county in Manafwa district has a
malnourished child was left to him by his young brother after birth.
Malaki says that the three-year-old has been getting support from the clinic at Bugobero Health
Center IV but this stopped with the lockdown restrictions.
At 2 p.m. when Uganda Radio
Network Visited, Malaki’s home, our reporter found him peeling sweet potatoes
which had just been uprooted from the garden. He says his family mainly feeds
on these potatoes, with no options for a balanced diet which would be ideal for the malnourished child.
Kirinya Ayubu is the URN Bureau Chief of Elgon/Bukedi Sub Regions . He holds a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communication from Islamic University in Uganda and a Diploma in Computer Science and Information Technology from the same University.