By Gad Masereka
St. Mary’s Kinyamasika played host to the Tooro People’s Conference, where community leaders and health experts gathered to address the pressing issue of stunted growth in the Tooro region. The conference aimed to shed light on the causes of stunted growth and propose preventive measures to uplift the community.
The keynote speaker, Dr. Bramble Bernard Carlos, delivered a comprehensive speech on the impact of nutrition on brain development. He emphasized the critical role of nutrients in forming neural connections and highlighted the consequences of inadequate nutrition during pregnancy. Dr. Carlos explained that children born to malnourished mothers may have smaller neurons, leading to difficulties in learning and comprehension.
“Those wires, or neurons, are essential for information flow in the brain. If a pregnant woman lacks proper nutrition, these neurons may not form or may be smaller, resulting in stunted growth,” Dr. Carlos explained to the attentive audience.
He went on to connect stunted growth to challenges in education, stating that children with limited neurons may struggle in school, repeat grades, and eventually drop out. Dr. Carlos urged the community to address the issue of teenage pregnancies, as they contribute significantly to stunted growth and its long-term effects on society.
While addressing the conference Catherine Kemigabo Attention noted that “Teenage pregnancy is a risk factor for stunted growth. If we don’t address this challenge, we’ll continue to see more stunted children, limiting innovation and progress in our region”
The conference also presented sobering statistics, revealing that the Tooro region had the highest prevalence of stunted children in the country. Mrs Kemigabo attributed this to various factors, including teenage pregnancies, malnutrition, and the decline in the quality of food due to economic challenges.
Hon. Margret Muhanga, the state minister for health in charge of primary health care, addressed the conference, emphasizing the need for collective action to combat stunted growth. She highlighted the societal issues contributing to the problem, such as alcoholism, early pregnancies, and poor dietary choices.
The minister urged the audience to engage in health promotion efforts, encouraging healthier eating habits and lifestyles. She stressed the importance of educating communities about the impact of nutrition on overall well-being.
As the conference came to a close, Kagaba Steven Ruboombora, representing concerned citizens, expressed frustration with the apathy of some individuals towards the well-being of society. He called for unity in addressing the challenges posed by stunted growth and malnutrition.
The Tooro People’s Conference concluded with a commitment from community leaders and health experts to collaborate on implementing preventive measures and fostering awareness about the importance of nutrition in the region. The hope is that these efforts will lead to positive changes in the health and well-being of the Tooro community.