Parents Asked To Use Fortified Foods To Prevent Malnutrition

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In short
According to recommendations from WHO, because many people do not have access to adequate quantities of fruits, vegetables and dairy products-- foods that are naturally rich in micro-nutrients, fortification offers a cheaper alternative to providing these nutrients for the body.

Parents have been advised to use fortified foods in a bid to address issues of malnutrition among children in Uganda.
 
Dr Elizabeth Madraa, the president of the Uganda Nutrition Action Plan, says food fortification is crucial because many diets lack the adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals.

Food fortification, according to the World Health Organisation, is the practice of adding essential vitamins and minerals such as iron, Vitamin A, folic acid and iodine to staple foods, with the aim of improving their nutritional content.

 
 
This, according to experts, is because most of these foods are excessively refined, and in the process, the natural nutrients are lost, leaving the product fine, tasty, but with no nutritional value.


According to recommendations from WHO, because many people do not have access to adequate quantities of fruits, vegetables and dairy products-- foods that are naturally rich in micro-nutrients, fortification offers a cheaper alternative to providing these nutrients for the body.
 
 
Dr. Madraa said fortified foods are crucial in addressing the problem of malnutrition, which remains a big burden in Uganda.

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Dr Madraa explained that while fortification is one of the most cost effective and sustainable approaches to addressing micronutrient malnutrition, it should be implemented alongside other strategies including bio-fortification and supplementation.

She however notes that most mothers have to be trained about preparing fortified foods and why the are important to children.

 
Carol Ongeki, a 29-year-old mother of four says she did not know what fortified foods were not until she took her baby to Mulago hospital.

 
When she took her 3 year malnourished baby to Mwana Mugimu section, she was asked to give the child specific types of foods. Among these included fortified foods which she says helped her child to cover quickly.

The 2011 Uganda Demographic Health Survey estimates 2.4 million children (about 33 per cent) aged below five years, are stunted and about 110,220 children have died in the last five years due to malnutrition.
 
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The survey also says that five per cent of Ugandan children are severely anaemic.

The report said that although there are many causes of anaemia, inadequate intake of iron folate and vitamin A and B12 usually account for most causes of the condition.

Vitamin A deficiency is also the leading cause of preventable blindness in children, and increases the risk of disease and death from severe infections.
 
Uganda has already adopted mandatory fortification of cooking oil, maize and wheat flour. The plan targets local food processing industries that produce over 10 metric tonnes of cooking oil and 20 metric tonnes of maize and wheat flour respectively every day.
 
 However, Dr. Madraa says that there is need for government to help small scale industries  build their capacities to fortify their products.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

About the author

Beatrice Nyangoma
Beatrice Nyangoma values her independence as a journalist. This was one of her major considerations before she became a URN staffer in 2015.

Nyangoma says, "I like URN because it gives me room to decide what stories I want to work on. That is so important to me."

The URN Jinja bureau chief since July 2016, Nyangoma considers health matters a beat close to her heart. One of the highlights of her career so far were her exclusive interviews unveiling the rot in Mulago hospital in early 2016.

Nyangoma started out writing for the Red Pepper newspaper in 2011 in her final year of university. She was majorly a health reporter. In 2012, Nyangoma moved to Top Television as a health, business reporter and weekend news editor. She was also the assistant editorial manager of Kabarole Research and Resource Centre FM (KRC FM).