Food and nutrition security among mothers and their children: A comparative study of Mityana and Nakapiripirit Districts
Nakanja, Agnes Cabrine
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Food and nutrition security among nutritionally vulnerable rural communities has continued to be a challenge due to the complexity in the inter-linkage between food availability, food access and food utilisation. In exploring such a theoretical assumption, the study adopted three specific objectives, namely to; 1) establish the level of food and nutrition security for Mityana and Nakapiripirit districts 2) assess the effect of food access, availability and utilisation on FNS and 3) to examine the risk factors that mediate food and nutrition security. This study, took a comparative approach towards achieving the above objectives for both mothers and children in Mityana and Nakapiripirit Districts. The study used both qualitative and quantitative data from Mityana and Nakapiripirit Districts. In total, 157 adults and 233 children aged five years and below took part in the survey. In addition, 2 FGDs (1 in each district) with a total of 17 participants and 17key informant interviews were also undertaken. Data analysis was then done by SPSS. Statistical significance was determined using Pearson’s chi square (p-values) to test for associations between the dependent variables and a number of independent variables. The weight and height measurements of the children were quoted in terms of Z scores. Using anthropometric indicators as a basis for establishing food and nutrition security, children in Mityana and Mothers in Nakapiripirit were found to be food and nutrition secure in comparison to mothers in Mityana and children in Nakapiripirit. In terms of food availability, both sites were found to be food secure. In terms of access to food, Mityana was found to have more access than Nakapiripirit. Hence still, households in Nakapiripirit were found to be more prone to risks (81%63) compared to those in Mityana. The forms of risks examined included, drought, price fluctuations, pests and diseases, human diseases and deaths, floods, livestock diseases and deaths. Key informants reported that the major risks in Nakapiripirit are floods, drought and poor road network. Food and nutrition security is influenced not only by the three factors of food availability, food access and food utilisation but also the ability to keep these factors constant over time. Although, food and nutrition security varies across regions depending on susceptibility to natural or manmade disasters/risks and vulnerability levels of the target group, the degree of resilience controls the extent of food and nutrition insecurity.