Nutritionists task government to advise Ugandans on foods that beat COVID-19

Ms Agnes Kirabo, the Executive Director of Food Rights Alliance examines some oranges grown in Soroti District. (Credit: New Vision)

The government has been tasked to advise Ugandans on the most appropriate foods they should take to keep COVID-19 at bay. 

Mr David Kabanda, a lawyer working with the Center for Food and Adequate Living Rights, says that while it is scientifically proven that foods rich in vitamin C can provide prophylaxis against infection and help those that are already positive to recover, the government has not come up with any initiatives that check what people are feeding on during this time when infections are spiralling. 

Some of the foods recommended as important in the fight against COVID-19 according to nutritionists include vitamin c rich fruits like lemon, orange, onion, watermelon, yellow bananas, apples, leafy vegetables that include spinach, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. 

“The Health Ministry should have already signed a statutory instrument to guide on diets just like it has issued guidelines on wearing of facemasks, instituted curfew and other guidelines meant to counter the transmission of coronavirus disease or COVID-19.

Speaking during a meeting held by Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) yesterday (Sunday), said that they have already filed a case suing the government for failing to provide Ugandans with adequate food during this crisis.

Mr Kabanda’s organisation works to advance social justice in food and health.

Speaking at the same meeting, Ms Agnes Kirabo, the Executive Director of Food Rights Alliance (FRA) said they have resolved to write an open letter to President Yoweri Museveni, raising their concerns on the failure to give food and nutrition the priority it deserves during the pandemic.   

“Apparent evidence suggests that good nutrition practices are a key weapon against the virus. But hardly much information is filtering through the government channels to the citizens to boost their immunity, yet, clinical and social distancing and facemasks have been overemphasised,” she said.

Ms Kirabo added that they are asking the president to lead in re-orienting the National Food and Nutrition policy and legal framework within the government and institutionalise a robust national food and nutrition security response plan to COVID-19. 

However, as they make this appeal, elsewhere, fruits and vegetables rich in zinc, iron and Vitamins A, B and C which are being promoted by nutritionists have had their prices go up and in some places shortages have been reported.

In neighbouring Kenya, media reports have shown that they are experiencing shortages in oranges and lemons.  

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