Uganda: Government Launches Data Platform to Check Malnutrition

Government has launched the National Information Platforms for Nutrition (NIPN) aimed at strengthening information systems for nutrition to prevent malnutrition and its consequences.

Implemented by the Office of Prime Minister (OPM) NIPN is a four-year project funded by the European Union (EU) implemented in partnership with the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS). Malnutrition occurs when the body doesn't get enough nutrients. Causes include a poor diet, digestive conditions or another disease.

Mr Patrick Nganzi, the national senior policy and coordinator of NIPN project, said that the project is about improving nutrition information management in the country so that different sectors in the country can use the data to develop policies and programmes that can reduce malnutrition in the country.

"Secondly we wanted to understand the existing policies in the sectors and at what stage are they so that we can support them, be refined or initiated. And thirdly, to support the policy questions," Mr Nganzi said.

Malnutrition is a major challenge in the country according to the 2016 report Uganda Health Demographic Survey (UHDS).

Statistics at Mwana Mugimu nutrition section of Mulago Hospital indicate that they receive at least between 80 and 120 children every month for rehabilitation.

Under the project, UBOS will be essentially collecting the data sets and processing them to make sense in terms of what messages can be given to policy makers and the people who are implementing or designing programmes

Dr Nassul Kabunga, the senior Analysis Advisor at UBOS said: "There are policy makers, people at the central government but there are also people at the local government. We also have non state actors who are making policies within their own organisations. These could be UN but also several other organisations they want to implement several initiatives or data but they don't have enough data."

According to the 2016 Uganda Demographic and Health Survey, malnutrition tends to be highest among the children born to illiterate parents.

The survey indicated that about four in 10 children born to mothers with no education (37 per cent) are stunted compared with one in 10 (10 per cent) of children born to mothers with more than a secondary education.

Similarly, stunting decreases with increasing wealth quintiles, from 32 per cent among children in the lowest wealth quintile to 17 per cent of children in the highest wealth quintile, it reads further.

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