Senior Advisor Urges Gender Equality in Nutrition to Combat Poverty

Mutyabule advocates for gender equality in food distribution and encourages men to actively contribute to improving family nutrition to enhance productivity and raise living standards.

SENIOR Presidential Advisor (SPA) on Poverty Alleviation in Busoga Mrs. Florence Mutyabule has asked residents to embrace best practices to ensure that women are empowered to fully handle family nutrition as one way of fighting poverty.

Mutyabule describes malnutrition as a ‘silent killer’ and urges men to encourage and support their pregnant wives and daughters to always attend antenatal sessions where they are taught proper medication and nutrition.

“…gone are the days when protein-rich foods like fish, meat, chicken and eggs as well as milk were considered a monopoly diet for men while women and children were reduced to beans and posho…”,she appealed.

She claims that most women, including girls, are at danger of malnutrition due to biological, socioeconomic, and cultural reasons that limit their ability and access to nutritious foods.

Although much has changed, in some cultural situations, women and children only eat meat, fish, or eggs on ‘major days’ such as Christmas, Easter, or Eid, whereas males do so throughout the day.

According to existing data, women are at a higher risk of malnutrition than males for a variety of reasons, most notably negative gender norms that favor men.

“Men typically eat the best part of a chicken meal, while women and children consume soup…”Mrs. Mutyabule cautions against the long-held habit of serving males first and best, while women eat leftovers.

She claims that undernutrition has far-reaching repercussions for women of childbearing age ranging from 19 to 49 years, which are felt on an individual, community, and national level.

The former head teacher-turned-politician observed that most men in Busoga squander family income in metropolitan bars and restaurants where they enjoy nutritious meals and booze while family members eat low-nutritional foods.

“…even when some meat is bought or chicken slaughtered at home, our women are dictated by culture to serve the best parts and quantity to the husband as the head of the family leaving little balance to be shared by the rest…” ,she added.

As a way forward, Mrs Florence Mutyabule encourages men to help women feed well with a regular balanced diet so that they can competently engage in important business and farming activities to raise their living standards.

What You Should Know:

According to the 2016 Uganda Demographic Health Survey (UDHS), the nutrition burden in Uganda is significant, with nearly 30% of children aged 6-59 months stunted (short for their age), 4% wasted (thin for their height), 11% underweight (low weight for their age), and another 4% overweight (high weight for their age).

According to available data, more over 11 million Ugandans, or 30%, consume food that is considered inappropriate for human development, implying that these citizens are likely to be malnourished or easy targets for disease.

According to the Dietary Energy Consumption (DEC) matrix, which measures the amount of food available for human consumption (typically represented in kilocalories or kilojoules per person per day), the Busoga and Bugisu subregions are the most food-deprived.

Experts define calories as units of energy found in food and used by the human body to maintain everyday health and life. Calories are related with the energy contained in protein, carbs, and fat.

According to experts, the amount of energy your body requires to stay fit and alive is directly proportional to the number of calories you consume, and the opposite is also true: eating too many calories can lead to weight problems and bad health.

Uganda started the Uganda Nutrition Action Plan (UNAP) II in September 2020 with the goal of increasing access to and usage of nutrition-specific services for children under the age of five, teenage girls, pregnant and lactating women, and other vulnerable groups.

The other goal was to expand the availability and use of nutrition-sensitive services among children under the age of five.

It also aimed to strengthen the enabling environment for scaling up nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive treatments in accordance with its objectives.

Since the establishment of UNAPI, nutrition has been recognized as a development and human rights concern both worldwide and nationally. It is a cross-cutting, multi-sectoral issue critical to society development and transformation.

According to Uganda’s Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja, these are the goals of the Uganda Vision 2040, NDP III, and NRM Manifesto 2021-2026.The second Uganda Nutrition Action Plan, the country’s strategic framework for scaling up nutrition, and the overall planning framework for nutrition programs in Uganda from 2020/21 to 2024/25 embody the ideas that drive this nutrition paradigm.

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