Uganda woman and child with doll

Project—Uganda National Panel Survey


To create a sustainable surveillance system that can monitor nutrition and health status, as well as performance and impact indicators of existing nutrition interventions.


Limited data available in Uganda shows that among children younger than 5 years, 53% suffer from anemia, 29% from stunting, and 11% from underweight. Among women of reproductive age, 32% have anemia and 9% suffer from underweight, while 24% are overweight or have obesity (Demographic Health Survey 2016 [PDF-9.51MB]). These data suggest a high risk for vitamin and mineral deficiencies among vulnerable populations in Uganda.

The Government of Uganda has several policies and programs to support optimal nutrition. These include fortifying selected foods, breeding crops to increase nutritional value, providing supplements, and offering infant and young child feeding programs. Nationally representative data for children’s measurements, anemia, and maternal and child health are collected about every 4 to 5 years, but they typically do not include key biological indicators of micronutrient (vitamin and mineral) status.


In 2018, a new nutrition module was integrated into the Uganda National Panel Survey. Implemented annually by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, the Uganda National Panel Survey is a multi-topic household survey. It began in 2009/2010 with the objective of producing annual estimates in key policy areas and assessing national policies and programs from a nationally representative longitudinal sample of 3,200 households. The data are representative nationally and by urban and rural areas for all 5 regions in the country.

The nutrition module provides indicators of micronutrient status, infant and young child feeding and maternal child health programs, food fortification, and chronic disease conditions. As a flexible platform, the indicators and biomarkers can be revised annually to meet country needs and priorities. For example, the first round collected micronutrient status indicators for children aged 6 to 59 months (iron, vitamins A and B12) and women aged 15 to 49 years (iron, iodine, vitamins A, B12 and folate). The next annual round was limited to anemia and malaria biomarkers. A panel of about 5,000 households was selected to be followed for 10 years. The surveys will include the same nutrition module questionnaire and may include biological indicators as well.

The nutrition module was added with funding from the US Agency for International Development  and technical support from CDC’s International Micronutrient Malnutrition Prevention and Control (IMMPaCt) team. UNICEF-Uganda provides technical and financial support.

Potential Impact

A sustainable surveillance system can demonstrate program successes, identify nutrition problems, and guide interventions. The high quality and representative data will help national leaders understand trends, patterns, and nutritional status in relation to other health and sociodemographic indicators. This can help national leaders improve program coverage, evaluation, and use, and also identify program successes and barriers. The nutrition module content can be adapted to meet data needs.

Next Steps

Organizers of the Uganda National Panel Survey are conducting a third data collection cycle with a nutrition module. CDC is working with the Uganda Bureau of Statistics to analyze the nutrition module data.

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