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NHLDS Initiates Nutrition Deficiency Monitoring and Impact Assessment for Food Fortification and Supplementation

Kampala- 28th September, 2023

The Department of National Health Laboratory and Diagnostic Services (NHLDS) has ventured into Uganda's nutrition sector with an ambitious program to integrate micronutrient testing in public health laboratories. Dr. Isaac Ssewanyana, the Laboratory Director, unveiled this initiative during the Laboratory Sector Performance Review meeting at Hotel Africana.

"This is our new baby at CPHL. Uganda has been actively implementing food fortification and supplementation to combat nutritional deficiencies within the country. However, we have lacked the mechanisms and capacity to assess the impact of these interventions and identify regions suffering from nutritional deficiencies. Therefore, at CPHL, we are utilizing catalytic funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, through MicroNUT, to establish the capability to conduct micronutrient evaluations. This will enable us to support the National Nutrition Program and other nutrition initiatives by measuring their impact and identifying at-risk communities. We are working in collaboration with IGAD Nutrition Surveillance, supported by USAID, and Uganda is now seen as the country to lead and support the region," Dr. Isaac Ssewanyana presented during the meeting.

Dr. Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, welcomed the program and assured the team of her full support. She emphasized the importance of micronutrient testing.

"I want to express my gratitude for the Micro Nutrient testing program. We consume and recommend various products without understanding their nutritional content. Rest assured, you have my full support in this endeavor. I hope issues related to mandates will not hinder your collaboration with UNBS, allowing us to deliver these crucial services to the people who need these services," Dr. Diana Atwine.

The implementation of the program is still in its early stages as teams engage in benchmarking exercises with food laboratories across the country. One notable visit has been to the Harris International plant in Ttula Kawempe.