UNICEF, MINISTRY OF HEALTH TO HANDLE POOR NUTRITION BY ADDING SUPPLEMENTS AS MEDICINE STARTING WITH WESTNILE

By Goodluck Musinguzi

Dr Diana Atwine, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health has launched a pilot phase that will integrate nutrition supplies into the National essential medicines and health systems starting with 7 districts from West Nile. The launch was at the National Medical Offices in Entebbe.

According to a recent survey by Ministry of Health underweight and malnutrition contribute to 50% of mortality in children under 5 years of age.

Good nutrition is essential for children to grow up health and strong, government and partners are determined to invest in Uganda’s Children so that they have a best start in life.

Dr Diana Atwine said this will enhance efforts against maternal,neonatal and under 5 mortality due to acute malnutrition.

“Patients dealing with chronic diseases like Tuberclosis, HIV/AIDS and diabetis also require these supplements. These cover nutritional deficiencies like iron , calcium, vitamins and others”, said Dr Diana Atwine.

The districts that are going to benefit in the first pilot include, Adjumani, Arua,Koboko,Moyo,Madi Okollo,Obongi and Yumbe.  

Malnutrition in children and pregnant mothers continues to be a major concern for policy makers in Uganda due to its adverse consequences for child survival and long-term well-being, regardless the progress made to-date.

Integration of nutrition supplies into the national Essential Medicines and Health Supplies (EMHS) system will enhance timely delivery of quality nutrition services and supplies to all the children and adults affected by malnutrition as well as reduce stock outs of these much-needed supplies at health facilities

Dr Charles Olaro, Director Health Services says “We welcome all forms of integration and government ownership. This nutrition supply pilot will not only improve access to commodities but also accountability.

UNICEF’s statement says malnutrition can trap generations of children in a cycle of poverty yet good nutrition in infancy is the building block for future health and development.

In the last 10 to 15 years, UNICEF’s engagement has been rooted in emergency responses at country level and market-influencing strategies focusing on building local RUTF production capacity.

From 2013 onwards, a number of UNICEF Country Offices have initiated reviews, independent of one another, to inform how they can either optimise existing supply chains or integrate them into the national supply chain systems.

This article provides an empirical contribution to the understanding of how supply chains for nutrition products function in large parts of sub-Saharan Africa. The primary source of data arrives from the results and analysis of eight UNICEF country studies.

Supplemented with primary and secondary data from other studies and semi-structured interviews with global and national level stakeholders, it provides insight into and guidance on what it takes to move parallel emergency-driven supply chains into the national supply chain for medicines and health products.

Conceptually, the core analysis is based on the WHO building blocks for health systems strengthening . As such, the underlying assumption is that any sustainable integration of nutrition supply chain management (SCM) systems requires carefully thought-through interaction with the other interrelated health system components.