By Matilda Nakawungu
Over the past 25 years, substantial progress has been made towards the achievement of the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG1) which committed world leaders to eradicate extreme hunger and poverty. Since 1990, the number of hungry people in the world has decline by over 200 million. The global rates of underweight and stunting in children under the age of five have also reduced by 40%.
On November 25, The Hunger Project Uganda in partnership with World Vision Uganda, UCCO-SUN and Concern Worldwide held a National Dialogue, to disseminate and discuss finds in the 2015 Global Nutrition Report; Global Hunger Index and the Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index; and their implications on Uganda’s Post 2015 Nutrition Agenda.
In a report presented at the event titled “What Works for Nutrition? Stories of success from Uganda”, it was noted that since the early 1990s, the nutrition landscape has been positively transformed in Uganda. This is greatly attributed to the government’s recognition that improving food and nutrition security can lead to socio-economic transformation.
Between 2000 and 2012, wasting of children under five years of age reduced by 3%, meeting the WHA wasting target. However, regional disparities exist, for example, around 1 in 2 children in the Karamoja sub-region are stunted compared with the Eastern sub-region which has already met the Uganda National Action Plan target of reducing stunting to 27%.
Presenting Key Messages and Calls for Action in the Global Nutrition Report 2015, Dr. Daisy Owomugasho the Country Director of The Hunger Project Uganda, noted that although a great deal of progress is being made in reducing malnutrition, it is still too slow and too uneven, while some forms of malnutrition, namely adult overweight and obesity, are actually increasing.
She emphasized that a virtuous circle of improved nutrition and sustainable development can be unleashed if action to address malnutrition in all its forms can be embedded within key development sectors.
Recognizing the critical role of nutrition in achieving sustainable development, there is need to strengthen national accountability on nutrition targets, ensure implementation of the Nutrition for Growth Compact adopted in 2013, invest in delivering better nutrition outcomes from existing funding and increase funding for nutrition action from the current 1% – 2% allocation government and donor funding.
At the end of the meeting, Participants developed a Civil Society statement with recommendations to Government and and Non State Actors on how to meet the Nutrition targets for Uganda as set by the World Health Organization.