Karamoja establishes district and sub county nutrition coordination committees
To improve delivery of quality services
Districts in Karamoja have established nutrition coordination committees to improve delivery of quality services.
“We have a well-established district nutrition coordination committee which was established last year (2018). We have also since established and trained the sub county nutrition coordination committees,” says Dr. Cerino Acher, Kotido District Health Officer.
The district and sub county nutrition coordination committees work with health centres, Parish Development Committees to conduct sensitization, health education to talk to communities about balanced diets, water, sanitation and hygiene practices, and the referral system by the Village Health Teams.
“Many times, the sub county nutrition coordination committees go to the community with health staff monthly to talk about a number of issues that lead to malnutrition and how they can prevent it. I see a change. If you go to majority of the manyattas, they have latrines. They have learnt to plant vegetables and greens to eat other foods whenever possible instead of feeding on sorghum only,”
Through the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda – DINU, UNICEF is strengthening the capacity of the government to facilitate multi-sectoral coordination and actions in 15 districts in Acholi sub region, Lango sub region, Karamoja sub region and West Nile sub region.
Specifically, UNICEF is strengthening the capacities of district nutrition coordination committees to ensure nutrition actions are coordinated, planned, costed and monitored in a standardized manner, based on needs. The overall DINU programme is implemented in 33 districts under the supervision of the Office of the Prime Minister.
Acher revealed that the district developed an action plan which includes nutrition and all services implemented in other sectors.
“Initially nutrition was not taken seriously but now we have a district action plan involving all sectors and nutrition is cross cutting. The challenge is staffing. Not all health centres have nutritionists,” Acher said.
He added that joint monitoring involving district, partners and donors is conducted every quarter and findings from the visits are assessed and actions taken whenever possible in the following quarter.
The results of the sensitization and health education conducted through a multi-sectoral approach is evident as explained by 26-year-old Veronica Nangiro, a resident of Lomukura village in Kotido. From the dialogues, Veronica has learnt the importance of eating a balanced diet in her household. She now feeds her 4-year-old daughter and 10 months daughter on greens, vegetables, beans, meat and sorghum.
The improved capacities and coordination among the district and sub county nutrition structures in Karamoja are facilitating the delivery of quality nutrition services.
UNICEF with funding from UKaid through the Karamoja Nutrition Programme is building a strong and functional health system to improve he delivery of quality nutrition interventions.
KNP which is also jointly implemented by WFP is focusing on; effective leadership and coordination, improved human resources for health and nutrition, evidence generation and application, strengthened supply system, and improved service delivery.