The contribution of Religious Leaders towards Nutrition Advocacy in Semi-Urban and Urban Communities in Kampala
Abiyinza, Bwekembe Sonia
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ABSTRACT Background: In the past, the struggle was to reduce prevalence of under nutrition which was claiming so many lives in Low- and Middle Income Countries. Mirroring the Low- and Middle- Income Countries, Uganda is experiencing a “double burden” of over-nutrition alongside the under nutrition. This has been attributed to the “nutrition transition” brought about by the ongoing urbanization. Though achieving good nutrition still remains a challenge in developing countries, knowledge about our diet and nutrition is important for good health and nutrition status. Individuals within the community have been divided out into small religious communities and change in health and nutrition behavior has been initiated within these communities through the religious leaders. Methods: A qualitative research was carried out in the semi-urban and urban communities of Kampala using key informant interviews. In total, 24 participants were purposely selected to participate in the study. Data obtained was then thematically analyzed Results: Generally, the respondents had knowledge, about good nutrition and its importance. They were able to identify that there were many factors that contributed to achieving good nutrition among which is nutrition knowledge. Most of religious leaders were actively involved in their congregants’ and communities’ nutrition either directly or indirectly as need arose. These were achieved through nutrition advocacy at the pulpit and others through other church programs and initiatives. Though these have impacted many, inadequate resources are the major challenge in these initiatives. Partnerships and training of religious leaders were highly recommended to make these initiatives a success. Conclusion: Achieving good nutrition has been a major challenge in the urban and semi-urban areas of Kampala due to so many factors. However, religious leaders have done a great job in tackling this problem though more can be done.