Impact of nutrition education centers on food and nutrition security in Kamuli District, Uganda
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Achieving food and nutrition security is among the goals of many public-private partnerships in Uganda. This study examined the impacts of Nutrition Education Centers’ (NECs) training programs on food and nutrition security in Kamuli, Uganda. Using a comparative approach, the study explored the relationship between participants’ affiliation with NECs, dimensions and quality of their participation, as well as their household characteristics, and food and nutrition security. The study was based on survey of 454 households, 606 children aged 0-59 months from two sub-counties. Anthropometric measures were also taken off caretakers, children, which were transformed into Z-score using WHO-Anthro. Respondents were categorized into NEC participants (NEC and Non-NEC clients) and Non-participants and data were analyzed using IBM-SPSS 24. Results showed that Non-NEC clients were more food secure and had better dietary diversity than NEC clients and Non-participants, however, their caloric intake was not higher than the former. Food security was also influenced by household’s participation in programs, availability of livestock, land acreage owned, WASH facilities conditions, meals eaten during food scarcity, time taken to collect water, membership of burials and festival groups, and days of illness of adult males. For nutrition security, NEC clients and Non-participants mothers had better health than Non-NEC clients. However, the former had more underweight mothers than the two groups. Incidence of underweight was associated with education and age at first pregnancy. Children of Non-participants and NEC clients had higher cases of stunting and underweight than Non-NEC. Wasting significantly affected NEC and Non-NEC than Non-participants. Recommendations for improving the program include participatory planning involving community, cultural and government officials in design of activities, decision making to strengthen implementation, monitoring and evaluation. Expanding microfinance project to increase livestock distribution and continue to empower households in records keeping involving production. Help farmers access high value staple crops to increase food production and incomes, in addition to encouraging clients to have vegetable gardens. Collaborating with Water User Committees, district health, and development departments to improve monitoring households’ WASH facilities. Collaboration with health workers, Village Health Trainers to educate and encourage households to adopt improved maternity practices and monitoring of children.