KAMPALA: The Assistant Commissioner in charge of Nutrition in the Ministry of Health, Samalie Namukose has asked Members of Parliament to strengthen laws and policies related to food and nutrition to prevent the risk of Non-Communicable Diseases – NCDs.
Namukose made the statement on Monday at the start of a four-day Parliamentary Nutrition week.
The event is organized by the Uganda Parliamentary Alliance on Food and Nutrition Security in partnership with Centre for Food and Adequate Living Rights (CEFROHT). This Nutrition Week targets legislators, government bodies, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and others as key players in promoting laws, regulations and policies for health food environments and diets.
During the week, MPs, parliamentary staff and other members of the public are scheduled to receive free screening and counseling on NCDs. Namukose said that the Food and Drug Act has not been amended since its formulation in 1959 and that legislators have a role to play to ensure that they provide strong legislations and policies related to food and nutrition.
Namukose added that the consumption of unhealthy food is being fueled by inadequate and concealed information regarding nutrition labeling that should indicate how much fat, sugar or salt the food product has. She says that this information is put in tiny letters and hidden on the food packs.
“So you do not know how much salt or sugar that you are taking and yet we know that these elements are related to disease,” added Namukose. She appealed to Parliament to intervene and make sure that nutrition labeling is regulated so that information about different products is factual and easily readable.
Dr. Hafisa Kasule, the National Advisor in charge of NCDs also appealed to legislators and the public to embrace nutrition labeling to enable them make informed decisions and reduce the consumption of unhealthy foods.
According to the World Health organization – WHO, unhealthy diet is one of the major risk factors for Non-Communicable Diseases in low and middle income countries.