Japan joins fight against malnutrition in Karamoja with $600,000 WFP donation 

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The World Food Programme (WFP) has today received contribution of US$600,000 (about Uganda Shillings 2.2 billion) from the Government of Japan equal to 244 metric tons of enriched foods aimed at assisting 26,000 young children, pregnant women and new mothers in Moroto and Napak districts for at least three months through blanket feeding.

The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) 2020 assessment, whose results were released last week indicate a very worrying trend in Karamoja. It found that between February and August, rates of life-threatening or acute malnutrition were above emergency levels in Moroto and Napak districts. The rest of the region’s districts were in the alert category, which means they also have relatively high levels of malnutrition.

El-khidir Daloum, the World Food Programme (WFP) Representative said that the Japanese funding will enable WFP to reach the most vulnerable children and women to prevent overall malnutrition levels increasing.

“Women are vulnerable because of their need for more nutrients including minerals and vitamins. Children, on the other hand, have a greater need for nutrients and are at higher risk of death from malnutrition. Malnourished are more likely to fall sick because of reduced immunity.”

“Above-emergency levels of malnutrition call for blanket feeding, which means providing enriched foods for children aged under five and pregnant women and new mothers in a specific area whether or not they are diagnosed with malnutrition. Blanket supplementary feeding helps reduce levels of malnutrition and the risk of deaths among young children.” Daloum noted.

The ambassador of Japan, Kazuaki Kameda, while addressing the press said the contribution has been made as part of the projects “Emergency Grant Aid in response to the damage caused by the locusts” towards food security.

“On June 23, the Government of Japan decided to extend emergency Grant Aid of US$600,000 to Uganda through WFP in response to the likely damage to crops due to desert locusts, and also to cater for often high rates of malnutrition in Karamoja.” Kameda said

“We very much hope the grant will improve the nutritional condition of children aged between 6-59 months and pregnant and nursing women in a region whose food security is also threatened by locusts, floods and human and animal disease.” He added

The minister for Karamoja, Hon. John Babagambi urged that the money be put to proper use for the benefit of the people of Karamoja and to have a take home ration for children who will stay at home when school opens.

“WFP during the lockdown came up with the ‘take home ration’ for learners to be provided food when learning from home. This initiative was very timely and it covered all the schools in Karamoja. We appeal that when schools open, we could have the second phase targeting children who will study from home.”

“I would like to request we put this money to proper use, I have no doubt WFP will do a good job like the have always done even with bigger sums. We look forward to more support” Babagambi said.

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