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A mother holds her child while waiting to receive vaccinations at a health center in Ishaka Mberare, Uganda.
Photo Credit: Kate Holt/MCSP

In Uganda, similar to other low- and middle-income countries, maternal undernutrition and inadequate gestational weight gain are prevalent and of growing concern. The Government of Uganda (GOU) and partners are working together to help prevent maternal undernutrition during pregnancy and the postnatal period, including lactation. New national guidelines—the Maternal, Infant, Young Child, and Adolescent Nutrition (MIYCAN) guidelines and the second Uganda Nutrition Action Plan—aim to address existing gaps in policies for delivering maternal nutrition interventions. However, addressing barriers to maternal nutrition at the household, community, and enabling environment levels requires further action.

During this webinar, speakers shared recommended implementation priorities for maternal nutrition in Uganda that align with and support the newly drafted MIYCAN guidelines developed by the Uganda Ministry of Health and partners. USAID Advancing Nutrition and the USAID Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition Activity in Uganda identified priorities as a result of a pilot of recently developed maternal nutrition operational guidance. These recommended priorities for strengthening maternal nutrition service delivery and the enabling environment for maternal nutrition in Uganda are meant to inform the planning of the GOU, USAID, and other donors, partners, and non-governmental organizations implementing maternal nutrition interventions.

Speakers:

Kate Litvin (moderator) is a technical specialist with USAID Advancing Nutrition. She leads a broad range of activities in maternal and child nutrition, social and behavior change, and gender equality and women’s empowerment. She previously worked on the USAID-funded Advancing Partners & Communities project and SPRING project. She holds a Master of Science in Public Health degree from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Togo.

Samalie Namukose is the Acting Assistant Commissioner of the Nutrition Division, with over 20 years of experience working at the Ministry of Health. Her key roles encompass: coordination and leadership of nutrition interventions in the health sector, policy formulation, program planning and implementation, resource mobilization and advocacy, monitoring and evaluation, and capacity building in nutrition interventions, among others. She holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Agriculture from Makerere University as well as postgraduate degrees in Food and Nutrition Security from Wageningen University in the Netherlands and in Business Administration from Makerere University. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Public Health Nutrition from Makerere University.

Heather Smith-Taylor serves as the Director of USAID Uganda’s Health and HIV Office. She has served as a career Foreign Service Officer since 2005, with assignments in Nigeria, South Sudan, Angola, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, and Washington. Ms. Smith-Taylor represented USAID at the U.S. Army’s School of Advanced Military Studies, where she earned a master’s degree in Military Arts and Sciences. Prior to joining USAID, Ms. Smith-Taylor worked for various USAID implementing partners and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Gabon.

Muniirah Mbabazi is actively engaged in research on food and nutrition policy, planning, and programming in Uganda, and currently consults for international and local organizations and government, with previous experience in both government roles and academia. Her research interests include: implementation and monitoring of nutrition programs maternal, infant and young child feeding, nutrition governance; and implementation of multi-sectoral community-based nutrition programmes. Dr. Mbabazi holds a PhD in Nutritional Sciences (Policy and Programming) from the University of Nottingham UK, a Master of Science in Applied Human Nutrition from Makerere University, and a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from the Islamic University in Uganda.

Hanifa Bachou is the Technical Director for Nutrition on the USAID Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition Activity in Uganda. She has over 30 years of experience in nutrition and child health, working in a wide variety of environments ranging from clinical pediatrics, to institutional and community nutrition activities, to nutrition policy and programming. Additionally, she has extensive experience with nutrition support for people living with HIV/AIDS and with multi-sectoral nutrition. Dr. Bachou previously worked with the Government of Uganda and USAID-funded nutrition projects, including NuLife and the FANTA project in Uganda. She holds an MBChB from Makerere University, a MMedSci in Nutrition from University of Queensland, Australia, and a PhD in Clinical Nutrition from University of Bergen, Norway.