The Movement of Life Uganda team recently reported they have successfully planted more than 12,000 fruit trees in their country. Planted at schools and homes as part of our global ‘End Heart Disease: Plant a Fruit Tree’ campaign, the initiative is helping to teach the people of Uganda about Dr. Matthias Rath’s groundbreaking scientific discovery that the primary cause of heart disease is an insufficient intake of vitamin C. Fruits are good sources of vitamin C. This means the widespread planting of fruit trees and promotion of eating fruit can help save lives.
Led by Movement of Life Uganda national coordinator Gyavira Mwesige, the fruit tree planting program is being carried out in Uganda under a school gardening initiative known as the ‘School Health Parliament’ project. Launched in March 2015, this project also involves collecting seeds, growing vegetables and medicinal plants, and teaching the children about nutrition and Cellular Medicine. In mid-2019 it reached an impressive total of 50 participating schools. Uganda is one of the world’s one hundred poorest countries. Many of its people are significantly undernourished and survive on as little as one meal a day. The ‘School Health Parliament’ project and ‘End Heart Disease: Plant a Fruit Tree’ campaign therefore have enormous potential to improve health and save lives in this country.
The urgent need for action to prevent heart disease
The urgent need for action to prevent heart disease is illustrated by World Health Organization (WHO) statistics showing that cardiovascular diseases are the number 1 cause of death globally. An estimated 17.9 million people died from cardiovascular diseases in 2016, representing 31 percent of all global deaths. Eighty-five percent of deaths from cardiovascular disease are due to heart attacks and strokes.
The WHO acknowledges that only a small and negligible minority of the world’s population consumes the recommended high average intake of fruits. Not surprisingly, therefore, as with industrialized countries, cardiovascular diseases are becoming major causes of death and disability in developing countries as well. At least two-thirds of cardiovascular deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, with heart failure now a growing problem in sub-Saharan Africa.
Teaching the health educators of tomorrow
The ‘School Health Parliament’ gardening project is having an enormous impact on the Ugandan children taking part in it. Through participating in the ‘End Heart Disease: Plant a Fruit Tree’ campaign, for example, they are learning how to make food their medicine. In addition, not only is the project providing healthy vitamin-rich food for the children, their schools and families, it also teaches important life skills such as teamwork, communication, professionalism, self-confidence, and leadership. As such, the project also functions as a training ground for teaching the health educators of tomorrow.
The Dr. Rath Health Foundation believes it is possible for the model developed in Uganda to be implemented in essentially any school, in any country in the world. To adapt an old saying: If you give a person some food, you feed them for a day. But if you teach them to produce their own food, you feed them for life. If we can help the world to feed itself with vitamin-rich food, our vision of ‘Health for All’ becomes possible.