Dr. Peter Waiswa, a researcher based at Makerere University School of Public health who was the Co-investigator on the study, says that one of the most important drivers of the decline in stunting among children under-five were increased coverage of insecticide-treated nets reasoning that with the prevention method, children do not fall sick.
Uganda has registered
immense progress in reducing stunting levels among children in the last two
decades, findings of a new study have revealed.
According to a study dubbed “Exemplars in Stunting Reduction: Uganda Country
Case Study” which was conducted through both reviewing government data from 1995
to 2016, policy review and interviews with mothers who have children aged 20,
the reduction in stunting levels from the highs of 48% to now 29% is partly
attributable to bed nets.
Dr. Peter Waiswa, a researcher based at Makerere University School of Public
health who was the Co-investigator on the study, says that one of the most
important drivers of the decline in stunting among children under-five were
increased coverage of insecticide-treated nets reasoning that with the
prevention method, children do not fall sick.
A child with malaria
gets eating problems that can repetitively lead to malnutrition and
stunting. In addition, he says maternal nutrition, improved maternal
education, women empowerment and access to piped water also helped reduce the
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start off”. //
The biggest reduction in stunting started in 2000, according to the data.
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programmes come in”. //
The researchers also found Teso region had the lowest levels of stunting while Tooro
region has the highest level at 45% way above the 29% national average.
In Teso, the stunting levels stand at 22%, which Dr. Richard Kajura, the
Principal Investigator attributes their ability to mix meals and the
independence of women to decide what sort of meals the family should have.
In Kasese, he says
they found in tow in every two children had a nutrition-related problem noting
that many people there depend on one type of food.
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Overall, however, even though the country still has high stunting figures,
Waiswa says Uganda is among the countries in Africa that have achieved a rapid
rate of childhood stunting reduction relative to their economic growth.
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To consolidate these gains the researchers recommend strengthening strategies
that deliberately target the poor and the least educated in addition to
investing in new technologies and nutrition-sensitive innovations in the
agriculture sector to improve productivity. They note that scaling up the bio
fortification of orange sweet potatoes alone would reach subsistence farmers
and potentially improve Vitamin A status among women and children.
At the administrative level, Kajura recommends increased financial allocation
to nutrition-related programs noting that in their research they realized that
there was no budget line that was 100% nutrition-specific but the gains were
made from indirect programs such as free education that has to enlighten mothers
and NAADS which have increased food availability in some areas.
These findings were put to Samalie Namukose, the Assistant Commissioner in the
Nutrition Division in the Ministry of Health who acknowledged the stunting
problem and said the new data will guide them in picking nutrition-specific
interventions since they have just developed a nutrition implementation plan
that gives them pointers on what areas to focus on.
She says they already know severely stunted children face four times higher
chances of dying before the age of five and yet those that survive end up
rapidly gaining weight later in life, which is now fueling the non-communicable