Office of Prime Minister pushing for multi-sectoral response to curb malnutrition

Working together to ensure children thrive

By Catherine Ntabadde Makumbi
nutrition, malnutrition
UNICEF Uganda/2019/Abdul
10 October 2019

In Karamoja sub region and other parts of the country, treatment of malnutrition is no longer done in isolation. 

District authorities are now responding to nutrition challenges in their districts by improving the quality of service delivery in key sectors like health, education, water, sanitation and hygiene, agriculture and community development.

“OPM (Office of the Prime Minister) is pushing us to have multi-sectoral nutrition programming. At all levels, we ensure that sectors give us their plans and share progress reports with us. It helps us track the integration and harmonization of interventions and engagement of different structures,”

Jennifer Aanyu, Kotido District National Focal Person.

Aanyu explained that the multi-sectoral approach to nutrition challenges in the district has also been emphasized among partners to avoid working in ‘silos. She cited an example where one district partner can no longer engage the district, sub county and villages structures individually but rather as a group to curb malnutrition by contributing to the improvement of key sectors in the district.

In addition, health facilities are tasked to regularly review their data to inform delivery of quality health services and areas of improvement.

“As we push for this approach (multi-sectoral), we also want our health facilities to continuously improve the quality of services they provide. We regularly ask them to look at their data to identify areas where they are performing well so that they maintain the performance. For areas where they perform poorly, we also task them to identify the causes or reason for the poor performance and work out possible solutions to improve,” Aanyu explained during a joint mission by UNICEF to document the impact of UNICEF support towards nutrition governance and delivery of nutrition services in Karamoja, funded by European Union and UKaid respectively.

The support to UNICEF under the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda – DINU funded by European Union is aimed at strengthening the capacity of the Government of Uganda to facilitate multi-sectoral coordination and actions in 15 districts. The overall DINU Programme is implemented in 33 districts of Acholi, Karamoja, Lango, Teso and West Nile sub-regions with OPM providing the overall supervision.

To strengthen the Government’s health system and improve the delivery of nutrition services in Karamoja, UNICEF and WFP are implementing the Karamoja Nutrition Programme funded by UKaid. The programme is implemented in all the Karamoja districts and aims to strengthen effective leadership and coordination; improve human resources for health and nutrition; strengthen evidence generation and application; strengthen supply system; and improve service delivery.

nutrition, malnutrition
UNICEF Uganda/2019/Abdul

While 20-year-old Agnes Lokiru of Lomukura village in Nakapelimoru Sub County in Kotido District may not easily relate the recovery of her 10 months son from malnutrition to UNICEF interventions, she is happy her son has fully recovered. From her narrations, it is evident that the availability of supplies at Kotido District main store and Nakapelimoru Health Centre III where her son was treated, the health education provided by the health workers, the linkages between the village health teams and the health centres, availability of trained health workers and the improved coverage of priority nutrition interventions not only in her village but in a number of Karamoja districts is a result of the work done by UNICEF and several partners with funding from European Union and UKaid.

To ensure that her son, Moding, does not get re-admitted to the nutrition programme at Nakapelimoru Health Centre III, Lokiru followed the health workers’ advice regarding the treatment and not to share the Ready-To-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) given to Moding with anyone in the family. Moding was admitted to the programme for about two months.

In addition, Lokiru is feeding Moding on a balance diet that includes greens, vegetables, beans, meat, millet as advised by the health workers.

“The health workers told me that the child should not eat one type of food because he will get malnourished again,”

Lokiru who is seated under a pawpaw trees says.

The pawpaw tree has provided them with papaws during the season.