The education minister and First Lady Janet Museveni has urged parents to ensure that they provide lunch for their children in schools.
Mrs Museveni, who was appearing on a talk on a local radio station in Fort Portal to sensitise parents on nutrition and school feeding recently, said it was the responsibility of parents to ensure that their children get lunch while at school.
She said parents in rural schools should pack lunch for their children, while those in urban areas should contribute little money towards preparing lunch at school.
The minister decried parents’ irresponsibility, saying most men spend on drinking alcohol, but do not want to provide lunch for their children.
“When I was still Ruham MP, I worked with LC1 chairpersons to ensure that they compelled parents to provide lunch for their children and the system worked,” she added.
Mrs Museveni wondered why parents fail to provide lunch for their children, yet they can provide shelter and clothing for them.
She defended school headteachers who send away pupils without luch, saying a child who has skipped a meal lacks concentration and often doses in class.
“Instead of leaving a child to dose in class, it is better to send him/her back home,” Mrs Museveni he added.
She encouraged the men to work with their wives to ensure that their families have enough food and encouraged them to have granaries where they can store their food.
RDC speaks out
Steven Asiimwe, the resident district commissioner for Kabarole, said teachers in schools that do not provide meals for them can also pack their own food.
Patrick Rwakaikara, the Kabarole education officer, said they were implementing the Uganda Multi-sectoral food security and nutrition project to address the challenges of malnutrition in the district.
“Under the World Bank funded project, we have started demonstration gardens in schools to teach pupils how to grow and prepare indigenous food, which is nutritious,” Rwakaikara said.
He said they had established school gardens in over 100 schools so far.
A recent report on Kabarole indicated that 41% of children aged six and below are stunted, while 53% are anaemic due to malnutrition.
According to the Ministry of Health nutrition department, malnutrition is a significant public health problem in Uganda and is a direct cause of 35% of all child mortality.
In 2015, The Cost of Hunger in Africa study revealed that Uganda loses sh1.8 trillion per year due to poor nutrition.