By Bernard Bwambale, Nutrition Project Manager,
KRC Farmers’ House, Boma, Fort Portal
Despite being referred to as one of the country’s “food baskets”, 41% of children, 6 – 59 months of age in the Rwenzori sub-region, Western Uganda are stunted – short in stature and low in body mass for their age due to malnutrition. Increasingly, the burden of overweight, obesity and diet-related chronic diseases in children and adults is also on the rise.
Establishment of a Nutrition Clinic at KRC is a specialized response to the Rwenzori region’s malnutrition problems. The clinic is born out of the Fort Portal Food Lab that started in 2015 with partnership of Hivos and International Institute for Environment and Development. Currently, and since 2020, Hivos and Healthy Food Africa is expanding this work under Food Systems Lab Project.
The clinic will offer several major nutrition specific and sensitive programs ranging from nutrition assessment, diagnosis and management of over nutrition (overweigh and obesity), nutrition education and counselling, diet therapy, referrals, capacity building of community and health facility structures on nutrition, integrated mobile health and nutrition clinics/outreaches, development of diet plans for all kinds of individuals and people living with non-communicable diseases (NCDs), physical activity plans, food and cooking demonstrations, nutrition kitchen gardening and research on nutrition.
The Nutrition Clinic was launched in January 2021 and officiated by the Kabarole District Health Officer (DHO), Chairperson of the District Nutrition Coordination Committee, Biostatistician, District Nutrition Focal Person, District Agricultural Officer, Health Inspectors, Nutritionists, Members of the coalition of the willing and KRC staff.
During the launch, the District and City authorities appreciated KRC’s initiative of a nutrition clinic as timely and filling critical gaps in the regions healthcare system. Presently, government is using the Village Health Teams (VHTs) system but it has not been effective due to capacity gaps and poor motivation. The clinic will be able to provide nutrition health services that are not specifically offered at public health centres and create sustainable linkages between health facilities and community level. The clinic will also conduct research on nutrition to inform programing and interventions.