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Starving Breastfeeding Mothers Cry Out as Drought Hits Karamoja

Jenifer Naput, a mother of twins and a resident of Bazza village in Moroto Municipality, said the babies are "over suckling" her yet her breasts have ran dry and cant produce milk due to lack of food.
01 Mar 2021 16:11
A Karimojong woman with her daughter collecting wild fruit in the bushes along the border of Karamoja and Turkana.


    Breastfeeding mothers in Karamoja region are crying to government to help them with food to save the lives of their babies.       Mothers whom Uganda Radio Network -URN found mothers who had taken their children for immunization at Nakapelimen health center III in Moroto Municipality who said that they are failing to provide milk for the babies due to the current food shortage.         Jenifer Naput, a mother of twins and a resident of Bazza village in Moroto Municipality, said the babies are "over suckling" her yet her breasts have ran dry and cant produce milk due to lack of food.            “We are being advised from the hospital to eat a balanced diet but to be honest, getting that diet now it’s hard and to make things worse, the sun has dried up all the places where we used to get greens,” she said.   According to Ms Naput, sometimes she can starve for one full day without eating anything yet her two babies need milk.    

Mary Nasike, another mother said the NGOs that used to run some programs in the health centers supporting breastfeeding mother with some food have stopped after, according to stores she has heard, the government suspended the operations of their main donor.      “Right now what most mothers are surviving on is eating wild fruits which are also hard to get because most fruit trees have dried up.    

Ms Melda Losike another mother said the situation is made worse by the Karimojong culture that puts all the burden on women to be responsible for providing food, building houses and other domestic work while the work of men is only impregnate woman and look after animals.         “This culture gives us hard time because whether you have delivered or not but it is your to ensure there is food on the table,” she said.  According to the Karamoja culture, it is the responsibility of the woman to look for food for the family as men take responsibility of providing security at home and grazing animals.       However the region lost much if its livestock that used to occupy men, as a result of cattle rustling. now most men remain lying under trees as women move looking for food.           Ms. Joyce Nachan, a mother of five and a resident of Pupu village in Rupa Sub County in Moroto district, said they wake up by 4.am to start walking to the wildness along the border of Karamoja and Kenya to collect wild fruits and returned back at 3pm.      “Life is not easy especially for the breastfeeding mothers, you find a woman who gave birth three days ago climbing a tree to get some wild fruits to cook, and I really wish government could come to our rescue,” she said.     Ms Christine Akot, the district LCV vice chairperson for Moroto district confirmed that most families across Karamoja are starving.       “Government needs to do something breast feeding mothers and other very vulnerable persons otherwise we shall soon register death in the region,” she said. According to Ms Akot, the office of the prime minister is especially responsible to handle the situation.”   End