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Nutritionists seek guidelines on diets to beat COVID-19

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.

Kampala,  Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT | The government has been tasked to advise Ugandans on the most appropriate foods they should take to keep coronavirus diseases like COVID-19 at bay. 

David Kabanda, a lawyer working with the Center for Food and Adequate Living Rights, says that while it’s scientifically proven that foods rich in vitamin C can provide prophylaxis against infection and help those that are already positive to recover, the government hasn’t 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. 

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

He was speaking during a meeting held by Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on Sunday. Kabanda’s organisation works to advance social justice in food and health.

Kabanda says that they have already filed a case suing the government for failing to provide Ugandans with adequate food during this crisis.

Agnes Kirabo, the Executive Director of Food Rights Alliance (FRA) said they have resolved to write an open letter to President Yoweri Museveni, to raise 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 masks have been overemphasized,” she said.

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 institutionalize 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 some in places shortages have been reported. For instance, in neighbouring Kenya, media reports have shown that they are experiencing shortages in oranges and lemons.  

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