Our work in Uganda- maternal and infant nutrition

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Malnutrition in early life severely and irreversibly impacts on the lifetime of its sufferers and their nations alike. It prevents persons from achieving their full potential physically, intellectually and economically, impacting on their productivity and further denying nations the realisation of both human and economic growth and development. There is a growing body of evidence on the importance of investing in tackling and preventing malnutrition as an essential precursor for development. Several developments and initiatives have been made towards meeting food demands and solving hunger and malnutrition in the developing world however, the situation remains dire. Global and regional initiatives like; 1000 Days Partnership, SUN movement and CAADP seek to improve the nutrition status of mothers and children using proven cost effective interventions; and Africa’s economic growth and development through agriculture led development respectively. African countries have designed policies and programs to guide delivery of health, agriculture, food security and nutrition interventions.

Uganda is one of the poorest countries in the world and its people deal with the burdens of poverty, poor health services and a high burden of HIV infection. Maternal mortality is high, with 440 maternal deaths per 100000 live births. Mortality among infants is also high with 135 deaths per 1000 among the under-5s. Malnutrition is a major factor in this high death rate and in spite of government commitments to address food security, the country is off track in terms of meeting Millennium Development Goals.

In Uganda, key policies for improved food security and nutrition status include the Agriculture Development Sector Investment Plan (DSIP) 2010- 2015 and the Uganda Nutrition Action Plan (UNAP) 2011-2016. The UNAP unlike the DSIP explores a multi-sectoral approach bringing together, government departments, local governments, private sector, academia, donors and civil societies to deliver interventions and programs that impact upon nutrition, health, agriculture and development. It is known that policies, programs and interventions should be strategically targeted to incorporate nutrition goals while reducing inequalities, however, little is known about multi-sectoral approaches and their impacts on food and nutrition policy, programming and development.

Objective(s)

Our work in Uganda seeks to explore influences upon delivery and implementation of nutrition, agriculture and health interventions by programs and projects in selected communities in Uganda.

Method 

This work employs qualitative interview methods  to critically assess how food and nutrition policies influence program planning and delivery and further how programs inform policy. Study participants are program implementers, policy actors and community members in Uganda. Study sites are four districts from the Uganda SUN districts where nutrition specific and /or specific interventions are currently being implemented and an additional two districts where none of these interventions are implemented.

This work is driven by PhD student Muniirah Mbabazi, working under by supervision with Judy Swift and Paul Wilson.

From WHO  http://www.who.int/pmnch/media/membernews/2011/ugandabackgroundpaper.pdf

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