(Excerpt from Uganda Nutrition Action Plan 2011-2016)
Nutrition plays a crucial role in the socioeconomic development of any country. Malnutrition accounts for about 35 percent of deaths among children under 5 years old around the world. Stunting, severe wasting, and intrauterine growth retardation are the major contributors to child mortality, accounting for about 2 million deaths annually. Malnutrition is the major cause of morbidity for all age groups, accounting for 11 percent of the disease burden globally. In addition, iron deficiency is the leading cause of maternal mortality, accounting for 20 percent of the estimated 536,000 deaths worldwide. About 43 percent of all deaths among children under 5 occur in Africa. According to the Uganda Demographic and Health Survey (UDHS), 19 percent of the Ugandan population was malnourished in 2006, and 38 percent of children under5 were stunted. This prevalence means that about 2.3 million young children in Uganda today are chronically malnourished. In addition, 16 percent of children under 5 are underweight while6 percent are wasted, and 12 percent of women are malnourished. The current levels of malnutrition in Uganda are unacceptable. Therefore, nutrition warrants greater investment and commitment for Uganda to realise its full development potential. Such an investment is a necessary prerequisite for progress on the Sustainable Millennium Development Goals.