Parliamentary Service staff have collected and distributed food items to starving communities in the Teso region.
The staff were mobilized and led by Rev. Canon Christine Shimanya, the Chaplain of the Parliament Anglican Church, who also led a small delegation to deliver the food items on Saturday.
The food items included maize floor, soya floor, powdered milk and saltwere distributed to the maternity and children wards infive referral hospitals.Other items included washing soap and plastic containers.
Staff of Brac, a humanitarian NGO, helped with the procurement, transportation and distribution of the items.
Beneficiary hospitals included Atutur Hospital in Bukedia, Kumi Hospital and Lwala Hospital in Kaberamaido , Soroti Hospital and Ngora Freda Carr Hospital, a community hospital affiliated to the Anglican Church of Uganda.
Rev. Canon Shimanyasaid that they decided to cater for children, expectant women and the elderly, who are the most vulnerable groupsin the food shortage and cannot search for fruits.
“This is not the first time I am mobilizing for food. I have done so for Karamoja, up to three times last year, to assist people who did not have enough food,” said Rev. Shimanya adding that “The same situation has hit Teso and I have done the same,” said Shimanya.
She said that several people still lacked food despite the start of the rain season and farmers doing their best to avert the acute food crisis in the area.
The traveling delegation observed that a number of people were depending on fruits – mangoes and oranges for meals.
Rev. Shimanya mobilised staff of Parliament, reached out to NGOs and individuals to support the people of Teso region with food.
The Chaplain said that, since government was catering for the bigger communities, she decided to look at smaller communities like new mothers,those still admitted in maternity wards and children.
She noted that mothers face a double tragedy as they have to look after children admitted in hospital and those left at home.
“I still appeal to different organizations and individuals to support the hungry. Although the rains have come, these people have eaten all the seeds and whatever they would have used for planting,”saidShimanya.
Rev. Shimanya urged government to consider issues of the elderly considering that they are deserted by their relatives, forcing them to run to Church for support and care.
Dr. Iren Chebitai, a gynecologist at Soroti Regional Referral hospital said managing patients who are hungry was very complicated.
“Food is required besides the medication. If someone is sick, the first treatment is food; medicine workswell on a well fed body,”said Dr. Chebitai.
She said that the biggest challenge they faced in the maternity ward was that of mothers complaining of lack of breast milk, which was attributed to not having eaten.
She also said that some mothers did not want to be discharged to return home, where there is no food.