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Addressing malnutrition in Uganda

Updated: Jul 5

The remote, rural areas of Uganda where Accomplish works faced an urgent malnutrition crisis during lockdown. Tough restrictions prevented people from travelling to markets, so they could not buy food, nor could subsistence farmers sell their produce. In the Kasese district of Uganda, lockdown exacerbated a pre-existing, endemic malnutrition problem caused by poverty and poor diets.


Accomplish launched an emergency appeal last year and our generous supporters gave over £11,000! This enabled our partner organisations in Uganda to give emergency food packages to more than 400 families. Thank you so much for your support at this time of intense need.


We also used appeal funds to help the Kyaninga Child Development Centre (KCDC) start a nutrition programme. KCDC hired two nutritionists and Accomplish's grant paid the first year's salary for one of them. Since January 2021, KCDC's nutritionists have given ready-to-use therapeutic food to 120 children with severe acute malnutrition. Furthermore, KCDC has improved the nutritional status of 352 disabled children through individual assessments and treatment, and by educating parents on how to provide a nutritious diet.


A three-year old boy who was struggling to eat and swallow
Client M before receiving treatment for malnutrition

One of KCDC's patients is three-year-old Client M, who has cerebral palsy. He was managed for severe acute malnutrition and muscle wasting. When he arrived at KCDC’s clinic, he had a poor appetite with meal selectivity, dysphagia (trouble swallowing) and vomiting. His family was struggling to feed him and treat reoccurring infections.


KCDC provided ready-to-use therapeutic feeds for 10 weeks and as a result, Client M gained 2kg. KCDC's speech therapy team also worked with him and his caregivers to minimise feeding challenges. His nutrition status is now normal. "The caretaker couldn’t keep away her smiles and thanks for the work done," said Community Nutritionist Agaba Calvin Dan.


The same boy after 10 weeks of treatment, having gained 2kg
Client M after 10 weeks of treatment, having gained 2kg

Many parents and caregivers have been astonished by the transformation in their children after treatment. Some caregivers initially thought their children would not survive. However, once the children started consuming ready-to-use therapeutic food and other nutritious foods, they quickly showed signs of recovery and became strong enough to proceed with physiotherapy and/or occupational therapy.


"Caretakers with malnourished children living with disabilities face a lot of stigma and discrimination when seeking nutrition rehabilitation at various health facilities," said Community Nutritionist, Agaba Calvin Dan. "However, this is being reversed with the provision of nutrition supplements to these children and the involvement of community health workers in nutrition promotion."


"Seeing caregivers/parents whose children have improved in any [developmental] milestone and have smiles on their faces [is] the most rewarding feeling for our staff at KCDC,” added Physiotherapist Valerie Kitaboona.


Going forward, KCDC plans to establish sustainable nutritional gardens in people’s homes with starter packs of high-yield fruits and vegetables; families will be able to sell any excess yield to earn income.

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