The Makerere University School of Public Health has once again been thrown in the limelight with its staff winning yet another of the hotly contested Grand Challenges Canada Bold Ideas Grants.
The project whose Principal Investigator is Ms. Florence Tushemerirwe (Department of Community Health and Behavioural Sciences) and co-investigated by Dr. Peter Waiswa (Department of Health Policy, Planning and Management) will use an integrated model for eliminating childhood malnutrition in rural areas. It will be implemented in Luuka District in Eastern Uganda.
The project will be implemented in partnership with Makerere University School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bioengineering as a sub-grantee.
The project is trying to solve problems of malnutrition (Stunting, wasting and under-weight) among U5 year children. With a successful project, results will be translated into policy, to improve food security, health and household incomes.
Globally, in 2010, 26.7% of preschoolers were stunted, 16.2% were underweight and 8.6% were wasted. In Africa, these stood at 38.2%, 19.3% and 10.0% respectively, while Eastern Africa stands at 44.6%, 19.3% and 8.5% respectively which are very high levels compared to the internationally acceptable levels.
In Uganda, 33% of U5 children are stunted, 14% are underweight while 5% are wasted (UDHS 2012). 49% of U5s and 41% women are anaemic. Only 63% of infants are exclusively breastfed and 82% of infants 6-23 months are not fed according to recommendations.
25% of U5 children in Eastern Uganda are stunted, 10% are under-weight and 5% are wasted, while 58% U5s and 28% women of reproductive age are anaemic.
Malnutrition is an underlying cause of morbidity and mortality among U5 children. In Uganda, neonatal mortality stands at 27deaths per 1,000live births, 54/1,000, and 90/1,000 live births among U5s. Child mortality is high among poor households where mothers have minimal nutrition knowledge in how to feed themselves and their children. Eastern Uganda mortality rates stand at 27/1,000 live births among neonates, 47/1,000 live births among infants and 87/1,000 live births among U5s.
Brief Project Intervention
The project aims at eliminating mild malnutrition among mothers and children 0-2 years t community level, using an integrated model, combining a highly nutritious low-cost, easily accessible, culturally acceptable supplementary food product made from local foods. This will be developed in partnership with the Makerere University School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bioengineering.
Mothers and children will receive this supplement until their children are 2 years. The idea is to prevent micronutrient deficiencies in early childhood and among women of reproductive age. Further, we shall implement an intense behavior change communication program including recommended key nutrition messages during mothers’ follow up. Also, we shall integrate Family Planning (FP) and promote prompt care seeking for mothers and children in case of common illnesses as well as involve the community at all project stages.
Successful project results will be translated into the Uganda food and nutrition policy.
Why this is a bold idea
The model will be implemented as a package, targeting Prevention of malnutrition before birth; has proactive/active surveillance, it is data driven and community -led by Community Health workers. Further, it will empower communities to engage in income generation through providing the supplementary food raw materials. Also, it is multidisciplinary in nature, integrating academia (Food technology, Nutrition, Public Health and Medicine) and communities. Further, the processed food will be marketed to Ministry of Health, UNICEF, NGOs, and the private sector at a low cost, bridging the gap between private and public sectors to focus on solving a common community problem. We are also partnering with the health policy stakeholders and hope to influence policy through this implementation research. This is an exciting opportunity, with a rare stakeholders’ combination to work together towards a common goal.
For more information please contact:
Ms. Milly Nattimba, Communication Officer, College of Health Sciences, Tel: +256-782-549387, Email:
, Web: http://chs.mak.ac.ug
Ms. Florence Tushemerirwe, Assistant Lecturer Department of Community Health and Behavioural Sciences, School of Public Health, Makerere University College of Health Sciences, Tel: +256-718198248, Email: