UKaid supports procurement and delivery of iron and folic acid for Karamajong breastfeeding mothers

"We ensure all pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers get iron and folic acid during antenatal care or post-natal care visits"

By Catherine Ntabadde Makumbi
pregnancy, maternal health
UNICEF Uganda/2019/Abdul

16 October 2019

Breastfeeding mothers who attend post-natal care visits in the Karamoja health centres are assured of regular supply of iron and folic acid tablets to boost their blood supply.

Previously, health centres were only giving iron and folic acid to pregnant women for fear of stockout due to limited quantities.
With funding from UKaid through the Karamoja Nutrition Programme (KNP), UNICEF has since July 2017 been procuring and delivering buffer stocks which are placed at district medical stores. The health facilities order and receive the iron and folic acid tablets from the districts to supplement the quantities delivered from NMS. 

“We make sure that all pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers get iron and folic acid whenever they come for antenatal care or post-natal care visits. During delivery some mother lose a lot of blood. Giving them iron and folic acid helps to restore their blood. We give them 30 tablets to last for a month,”

says Anna Grace Namongo, Enrolled Midwife at Kapedo Health Centre III in Karenga District.

KNP which is implemented by UNICEF and WFP aims to strengthen the Government’s health system to improve the delivery of nutrition services in Karamoja by developing the skills of nutritionist and health workers; improving the treatment of severe acute malnutrition in hospital and health centres; generating evidence to improve the design of nutrition services; procuring and managing quality nutrition supplies; providing more effective nutrition leadership and coordination across all government departments and partners.

Pillar four of the KNP focuses on strengthening the supply system whereby UNICEF and WFP are working with government and partners to procure and deliver sufficient nutrition supplies, improve stock management and follow up at the local level to ensure that the supplies reach the intended beneficiaries and are used appropriately.

“We check our stores regularly and monitor the stock we have. If we realize that the stock will not be enough, we contact the district for the supplemental buffer stocks or even nearby health centres that may still have more. It all depends on the expected population,”

Namongo explained.
iron and folic acid breastfeeding mothers
UNICEF Uganda/2019/Abdul

Kapedo Health Centres attends to over 160 pregnant women in a month. 

26-year-old Veronica Nangiro of Lomukura village in Nakaperimoru Sub County in Kotido district notes that she received iron and folic acid after delivering her now 10 months baby. She has since stopped taking the tablets as the health workers advised her that it is no longer necessary.

Florence Layet, Assistant Inventory Management Officer in charge of medical supplies at Kotido District says she has encouraged health centres to utilize stock cards and monitor the consumption of the drugs. “One of my roles is to track the consumption of all drugs I receive and dispatch to the lower units. I have to manage the stock up to the consumer,” Layet explains.

She recommends to the health units to ensure better drug projection and to implement the redistribution plan to save the drugs from expiring. At the district store which is referred to as the central store, the nutrition supplies received include Ready-To-Use Therapeutic Foods F100, F75, Albendazole, Mebendazole, Vitamin A.

Layet who has been on the job for 5 months as of October 2019 acknowledges that her efforts are yielding results despite a few challenges like lack of transport to monitor all the 22 health units in the district, drug handling at the health units and poor drug storage in some health units.