Kampala — The ministry of Health has partnered with Unilever Uganda to launch a Ush.700 million ($280,000) campaign to address malnutrition in the country.
The campaign dubbed 'the National Growth Campaign' comes on the back drop of statistics released by the Uganda Child Survival Strategy that estimated that malnutrition directly and indirectly contributes up to 60% of child mortality.
Estimated projections from the Uganda Child Survival Strategy also suggest that over 520,000 children will die as a consequence of underweight between 2006-2015 if the status quo is maintained.
Under the theme, 'Can the Nation's children grow by 1000 meters with optimal nutrition', mothers, children and care takers will be educated on the importance of providing a healthy diet throughout the campaign.
The campaign will be conducted in over 200 primary schools countrywide targeting pupils aged between 6 -12yrs. Their growth patterns will be monitored for a period of 6-8 months.
The data will be used for calculating the height-for-index and a government nutritionist will reinforce the essential foods needed for their diets.
Mr. George Inholo, Country Manager Unilever Uganda said that the campaign results would be used for school health policy formulation and setting objectives for school nutrition through the analysis of the current health situation of school children and also engaging parents on the necessary precautions to take.
"We shall partner and work with different government institutions , development partners and other technical experts in the field of nutrition to take this information down to all parents and children in different schools", Inholo added.
Dr. Paul Kagwa, a commissioner at the Ministry of Health said, "Reducing malnutrition in Uganda is critical to save children's lives. It hurts development in terms of education and productivity and results into poor cognitive development which affects educational outcomes."