KIHEFO promotes local initiated solutions to fight disease, ignorance and poverty in southwestern Uganda
Every last Saturday of the month, KIHEFO receives mothers and caretakers from rural villages at the Nutrition & Rehabilitation Centre in Kabale to provide free health assessments for malnourished children. On Saturday, January 26, over fifteen female caretakers, most of whom are living with HIV/AIDS, arrived with their children from rural communities surrounding Kabale to participate in the nutrition clinic.
KIHEFO’s staff and volunteer team provided assessments of over twenty children and youth, measuring their height, weight and tracking their growth and development. Caretakers received counseling and advice from KIHEFO on how to improve their child’s diet – by encouraging them to include vegetables (bitter greens) and diversify their diets. Women also received information on family planning.
This time of year is particularly difficult for women and caretakers to properly feed their children, as tuition and school fees are required for children and youth to begin the primary and secondary school semester. Additional household income is used to pay these fees, often limiting families in purchasing other foods than the foods they grow – typically only sweet potato, plantain and corn.
One mother from the community of Buhara arrived with her one year old baby to participate in the clinic. Being a single mother to three young children, today she struggles to grow enough food – only a plot of cassava or sweet potato – to properly nourish her children. Some days there is no food in the house, and as a result of her own malnutrition, her breast milk is drying up. Her story is a common one in Kabale, as women caretakers face many challenges to providing children with enough quality food. As a result, KIHEFO estimates that nearly 80% of children under five are dealing with hunger and ‘hidden hunger’ – the deficiency in micro-nutrients that are essential to growth and development.
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