Fighting malnutrition in the Teso region of Uganda by improving the nutrition of lactating women



Immaculate Apio, your project has caught the attention of Institut Cerba, which has decided to support it by giving you one of the 10 prizes awarded this year in the framework of its internal call for projects. Do you have an initial reaction to share with us? 


When the results were announced, I was very happy and proud to learn that my project had been selected. This is a real opportunity for us to implement the project in good conditions, without having to sacrifice part of it for budgetary reasons. 


What does your project consist of? 


Our project aims to improve the nutrition of breastfeeding women in the Teso region, in Eastern Uganda. Malnutrition affects many women and their children in this region, with problems of kwashiorkor* and anemia resulting from protein and iron deficiencies. This project is carried by Teso at Heart, an association that has been in existence since 2015 and whose goal is to foster cohesion among Iteso (local residents), carry their culture and support the community.


How will the project work in practice? 


With the help of representatives from each district of the region present in the association, we will first identify the most vulnerable mothers. These may be single mothers with no income, mothers who already have other children to care for in addition to the newborn baby, or mothers whose children have conditions such as autism or Down syndrome. 
We plan to recruit doctors, midwives and dieticians so they follow these mothers and their children from the time of delivery until the end of breastfeeding (i.e. about two years), and provide them with nutritional advice. Following the recommendations of these health professionals, the association will purchase various food products to ensure sufficient milk production for the babies while maintaining the health and well-being of the mothers.
The support of Institut Cerba will finance the remuneration of the health professionals, the purchase of food and some logistical costs (uniforms, transport for representatives from Teso at Heart as well as media coverage). 



The support of Institut Cerba gives us the opportunity to implement our project of nutritional support for breastfeeding women in good conditions.

Immaculate Apio

Business Development Manager, Lancet Laboratories Uganda

Could you tell us where your involvement in associations comes from?


My involvement in associations goes back to my university studies, when I had already joined a cultural group supporting the development of students in Teso. In this context, I discovered Teso at Heart, which was working to connect successful alumni with students to guide them in their careers. 
Unemployment is very high here in Uganda, even for people who have been to school. I knew that after college I would have to find a job and build my career while being able to help people in my village and identify with my culture. That goal fitted perfectly with Teso at Heart’s one. 



Any last message to pass on?  


I would like to express my sincere thanks to Institut Cerba for the support they give to our project. This project will contribute to significantly improving the health of breastfeeding women and their babies in the region.  



* Kwashiorkor is a severe form of malnutrition that affects young children. It is linked to a very low intake of proteins, vitamins and minerals. The main symptom is swelling, which usually starts in the legs but can spread throughout the body. A swollen belly is another classic symptom frequently observed. Kwashiorkor can be fatal for affected children because it renders them highly susceptible to infection.