Need for Early Warning Nutritional surveillance, takes Center Stage as IGAD Meeting Ends

The need to have early warning  information about nutritional related matters in all IGAD member countries, has been the central matter of discussion in the just concluded Learning Network on Nutritional Surveillance LeNNS Meeting.

The three days meeting that was held in Kampala, brought together all partner states in the Intergovernmental Authority on Development- IGAD to asses the opportunities and challenges in nutritional data value chain to help policy making.

The national demographic survey 2016, points out that there is limited nutritional data in Uganda, and the little which is available, points out that 53 percent of children below five years are anaemic.

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Data also reveals that 29 percent of Ugandan children are stunted, 11 percent are under weight. The same dada indicates that 32 percent of women of child bearing age are anaemic, nine percent are under weight, and 24 percent are obese.

The meeting attributed such big numbers to absence of stringent early warning surveillance.

Dr Henry  Mwebesa the director general for health services  at the ministry of health, highlighted that negligence of nutritional early warning surveillance can lead to very big problems to the population which can even be move from one generation to another.

“We need to have early warning signs, so that as we monitor our nutritional data, there should be indicators showing something getting out of control in a given region,” Mwebesa said.

Therefore, Mwebesa argues that the technical people should be able to collect data that can send a red flag.

“We don’t want things to get out of control and we only come in to rehabilitate. This is mainly with children below five years,” he said.

Fatuma Adan, the IGAD head of mission, highlighted that this meeting has brought out the real challenges in nutritional data surveillance among the member states, and some of the solutions have been devised.

According to Adan, the meeting has helped states to learn from the capacities of each other because it is in-line with nutritional data.

“What has come out clearly is that early nutritional information indicators are lacking and governments should have a tailor made intervention to this effect for proper information follow,” Adan said

Adan, noted that, in every member state, there are hot spot areas, and these are mostly affected by drought. Governments were also urged share nutritional information amongst them selves to solve nutritional related problems.

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