By PATRICK JARAMOGI
KAMPALA, Uganda|SHIFTMEDIA| “The right to adequate food will have to be realized progressively…States have a core obligation to take the necessary action to mitigate and alleviate hunger…, even in times of natural or other disasters”
This a recommendation from the United Nations, that all nations have to abide to. And back home here in Uganda, Center for Food and Adequate Living Rights (CEFROHT) is leading the call for these observations.
CEFROHT and Uganda Consumer Consent through support from IDLO has launched the initiative of training Ugandan media on regulatory and fiscal measures on healthy diets.
Scores of journalists drawn from across the country deliberated on the right to adequate food, health diets and nutrition during media training held at the Grand Global Hotel in Kampala on Thursday.
Addressing the media, Peter Milton Rukundo (PhD), a leading nutritionist, Lecturer and Researcher at Kyambogo University said the risk that poor diets pose to mortality and morbidity is now greater than the combined risks of unsafe sex, drug and alcohol and tobacco use.
“Malnutrition associated with diets that are not healthy represents the number one risk factor in the global burden of disease. Uganda is still ranked among high childhood undernutrition burdened countries,” said Rukondo.
He said the numbers of patients admitted at Mulago hospital and the Cancer Institute due to diet and cancer related is overwhelming.
He said issues related to overweight, obesity and diet-related Non-communicable diseases are alarming and need immediate attention.
Issues on ground
- An estimated 46% of Ugandans are relatively food insecure (GOU, 2017)
- About 20% of the population suffered inadequate food access due to COVID-19 (UBOS, 2020)
Data gaps in food security Analysis: reliance on IPC data which is qualitative
Rukondo noted that Uganda is still facing aspects of food insecurity in most parts, despite being known as a food basket.
“The Global Hunger Index of 2019 ranked Uganda at No. 104 out of 117 countries; up from 103 in 2017, while up to 46% (11m) are experiencing food insecurity (GOU, 2017),” said Rukondo.
He described as sad statistics that show only 34% of the school-going children get access to school meals.
Leading causes of food insecurity
- Insufficient all-year-round food production
- Inadequate access to food by households (low incomes)
- Emphasis on cash vs. food crop farming
- Gender & inequity constraints (human rights issue)
- Inadequate planning at pre & post-harvest level
- Un-regulated food marketing & sale
- Inadequate policy & legal framework
What Uganda Media needs to know?
Addressing the members of the Fourth Estate, David Kabanda the Executive Director Center for Food and Adequate Living Rights (CEFROHT) said the purpose of the training was to orient members on the core concepts of food, diet, nutrition, health and their links to human rights.
“The media needs to help raise create awareness by describing the malnutrition problem and its consequences on the development of Uganda,” said Kabanda.
He said CEFROHT and Consumer Consent Uganda would work closely with the media in highlight opportunities for media advocacy towards improved nutrition and wellbeing among Ugandans.
He urged the journalist to use their skills and platforms to sensitize Ugandans, especially during this hard times of COVID 19 to feed well.
Dr. Rukundo presenting during the training PHOTO/CEFROHT
“A good diet should be adequate (meets body’s Recommended Dietary Allowances/RDA) and balanced (recommended proportions for function). Eating a diverse diet means eating many different foods each day that can enable an individual to achieve a balanced diet so as to build a strong community,” he advised.