Monday July 18 2011

Cases of malnourished children triple at Mulago Referral Hospital

By Patience Ahimbisibwe

A senior nutritionist at Mulago National Referral Hospital has said they are overwhelmed by the increasing number of malnourished children.

Ms Hanifa Namusoke said the cases have more than tripled since March and because the facility is small, they are now using the corridors and reception for admissions.

“We are overwhelmed. We suspect food insecurity in the country sparked off by high fuel prices that has rendered parents unable to afford a litre of milk a day to feed the young ones,” Ms Namusoke said.

She said in March, 49 cases of malnourished kids were recorded in the paediatric ward but this increased to 135 in April. The cases reported shot up to 183 cases in June, a trend nutritionists say is worrying.

Deaths in Namutumba
Malnutrition is lack of adequate nutrients in the body. Besides lack of food, consumption of more calories than required and poor digestion can also cause malnutrition.

Ms Namusoke said malnutrition later affects mental and physical development of a child. Addressing the media last week, State Minister for Health, Dr Richard Nduhura, said the recent situation in Namutumba District, which the local people blamed on polio immunisation, was a result of poor feeding.

“We received reports that the current situation in Namutumba District is being blamed on the polio immunisation. This is not the case. We have assessed the cases of children dying and it is clear that these children are suffering from poor feeding which is being worsened by diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia,” Dr Nduhura said.