Uganda is home to some of the most nutritionally insecure people in the world despite the fact that its called the pearl of Africa. Poor infrastructure and limited resources compounded with poverty, HIV, and poor access to health services are factors that contribute to the staggering levels of malnutrition and food insecurity in the country.
HIV infection and poor nutritional status often exist in tandem. The infection increases the body’s energy requirements and diminishes the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Also, clients with opportunistic infections or adverse drug side effects may have poor appetite or difficulty with eating. The nutritional status for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA) or Tuberculosis has significant impact on clinical outcomes, disease progression, and antiretroviral therapy or TB treatment success.
Currently 33% of Ugandan children less than five years of age are stunted, 16% are underweight, and 4% are wasted. Malnutrition among adults is also high, with 12% of women being underweight. Other forms of malnutrition do exist and with HIV infection they become aggravated.
The issue of access to high quality nutritious foods has become a major challenge for many individuals living in the country due to the excruciating poverty that is languishing many due to lack of assets and employment which can help to redeem them out of poverty cycles; Over 9 million people lack what to eat. Malnutrition can take several forms including hunger, under nutrition, over nutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. In its common usage, hunger describes the subjective feeling of discomfort that follows a period without eating. However even temporary periods of hunger can be debilitating to longer term human growth and development. Acute hunger is when lack of food is short term but significant and is often caused by shocks, whereas chronic hunger is a constant or recurrent lack of food. Reducing levels of hunger has traditionally placed the emphasis on the quantity of food, and refers to ensuring a minimum caloric intake is met. The foundation aims to ‘reduce levels of malnutrition among women of reproductive age, infants, and young children, ensuring that all Ugandans are properly nourished to enable them to live healthy and productive lives. The foundation focuses on philanthropy support and its agricultural strategy to bring about improvements in nutrition among young children and women of reproductive age by scaling up the implementation of a package of proven and cost-effective interventions.
And let us not forget the tens of thousands of children around the country who are vulnerable to the ravages of life-threatening, severe acute malnutrition. Slowly, treatment is expanding but, still, too many children remain out of its reach. About one third of under-five mortality is attributable to under nutrition. The foundation has helped over 200 orphans and vulnerable children from child headed families and streets to have at least a meal a day and due to financial constraint we are unable to overcome the burden of hunger among these children and as result the problem is greater than our capacity to combat it effectively and efficiently. Therefore the foundation is willing to stand with any organization or an individual who is willing to fight with us to end hunger in these underserved children and women.
The foundation has economically empowered women as strategy to reduce hunger in households because we understand that greater earnings for women have serious implication on improving nutrition and ending hunger within homes, in this program the foundation has managed to carry out workshops that saw 50 women learning practical skills such as soap making, poultry keeping, art and craft making, mushroom growing not only that but also linking them tailoring and African fabrics.
Maternal & Child Health
Maternal and child health (MCH) care is the health service provided to mothers (women in their child bearing age) and children. The targets for MCH are all women in their reproductive age groups, i.e., 15 - 49 years of age, children, school age population and adolescents. Throughout the world, especially in the developing countries, there is an increasing concern and interest in maternal and child health care. This commitment towards MCH care gains further strength after the World Summit for Children, 1991, which gave serious consideration and outlined major areas to be addressed in the provision of Maternal and Child Health Care services.
Poorly timed unwanted pregnancies carry high risks of morbidity and mortality, as well as social and economic costs, particularly to the adolescent and many unwanted pregnancies end in unsafe abortion. Poor maternal health hurts women's productivity, their families' welfare, and socio-economic development. Large number of women suffers severe chronic illnesses that can be exacerbated by pregnancy and the mother's weakened immune system and levels of these illnesses are extremely high. Infectious diseases like malaria are more prevalent in pregnant women than in non-pregnant women (most common in the first pregnancy). In addition, an increasing number of pregnant women are testing positive for the human immunodeficiency virus. In Sub- Saharan Africa, 3 million women are estimated to be infected with the AIDS virus and a woman with HIV has a 25 to 40 percent chance of passing the infection on to her fetus in the womb or at birth. Many women suffer pregnancy-related disabilities like fistula, uterine prolapse long after delivery due to early marriage and childbearing and high fertility.
The foundation has managed to scale up programs that increase access to healthcare services like training traditional birth attendants, providing quality and nutritious meals, mobile clinics which are usually partnerships with other stakeholders, mosquito nets to both pregnant mothers and children most especially in areas which had to reach that is to say in Mpigi, kyegegwa, bushenyi and Hoima districts where pregnant women face a lot of difficult accessing health centres due to long distances.
The HIV epidemic in Uganda continues to be generalized, and has not changed pattern in the last three decades. The country achieved impressive success in the control of HIV during the 1990’s, bringing down HIV prevalence among adults aged 15-49 years from a national average of 18.5% in 1992 to 6.4% as reported in the 2005 Sero-survey.
The disproportionate impact of HIV /AIDS on girls and young women stems from a range of factors linked to poverty, human rights abuses and gender inequality that results in lack of access to education and reproductive health care, gender based violence, child marriage and discriminatory policy. Addressing these factors that go beyond biomedical interventions is key to the foundation’s efforts to mitigate the disease. The foundation focuses on mitigating the HIV/AIDS prevalence in among the population through prevention of new HIV infection and empowering households psychosocially and economically to overcome HIV related challenges in all our areas of operations. The foundation’s aim is to go beyond the health sector to address social and economic factors driving or contributing immeasurably to new HIV infection in population not only that but also to provide a remedy to the suffering of those who have fallen victim of the disease. The foundation has reached several communities with HCT activities, created linkages to health centres to enable expectant mothers to receive PMTCT services through antenatal care, prevention crusades and seminars have been at the core of the program. Helping those infected families to cope up financially by empowering them with small scale enterprises, providing reproductive health services among others.