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AFRICAN NUTRITION MATTERS . December 2014 . Volume 2 No. 3 .

Focus on the Africa Nutritional Epidemiology Conference VI Accra, Ghana 2014

AF RIC AN NU T RIT IO N SOC IET Y T H E N E W S L E T T E R


AFRICAN NUTRITION MATTERS

African Nutrition Matters . Volume 2 No. 3 Focus on the ANEC VI African Nutrition Matters is a publication by the African Nutrition Society

In this issue

3 5 8 10 12 14 15 16 18 19

P. O. Box K18, Korle Bu, Accra, Ghana. Phone: +233-244186867; +233-244872410 Fax: +233-2151394

Editorial

Editors Nonsikelelo Mathe, PhD

Post-conference interview with Paul Amuna, chair of ANEC VI

Dia Sanou, PhD

Linguistic editors

The greatest gift is knowledge

Muniirah Mbabazi, MSc Folake Samuel, PhD

Cancer and Africa

Layout by Jafri Ali

The FAO ENACT project All correspondance should be addressed to the editors by

African Nutrition Graduate Students Network forum

emailing the following address:

THE LEADER

Subscribe to this newsletter on:

newsletter@answeb.org

http://goo.gl/gpchYt Nutrition advocacy in East Africa

Young scientist column

Events Cover photo credit: Jafri Ali

African Nutrition Matters is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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EDITORIAL

volunteers

Dear reader,

Ghana and the continent.

at

the

ANEC

conference

for

their

tremendous commitment to the success of this conference. They are truly the shining black stars of

Happy new year! Welcome to the 4rd issue of African Nutrition Matters (ANM). 2014 has been particularly rich and vibrant for Africa

nutritionists

and

the

global

nutrition

community. In this special issue we publish the highlights of 2014. The African Nutrition Society’s (ANS) flagship event, the 6th African Nutrition Epidemiology Conference (ANEC VI) was held from 21-25th July 2014, in Accra, Ghana. The conference was attended by scientists, nutritionists, industry, academia, government and students who gathered at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) to participate in discussions around the theme “Food and Nutrition Security in Africa: New Challenges and Opportunities”. The ANM symposium held at ANEC VI provided an opportunity to officially launch the newsletter

to

African

readers

attending

the

conference. It also allowed most of the editorial team members to meet for the first time and interact with readers and ANS members and to revisit the team working approach. The symposium was well attended by members of the ANS board, students and many interested in this first publication of the ANS. A major highlight of this ANEC meeting was the launch of the eNutrition Academy, the culmination of many months work and the collective effort of several nutrition societies.

Professor

Emerita

Catherine

Geissler

discusses the significance of the academy. This and other highlights of 2014 are documented in this issue of ANM.

In July 2014, the African Nutrition Leadership Program (ANLP) launched its official newsletter - The Leader. The Leader intends to “serve as a continuing communication

on behalf of the ANS council the dedicated student

between

ANLP

Alumni,

sponsors and the ANLP leadership team. Furthermore it would create a doorway for providing ongoing education on matters closely related to nutrition leadership.” ANLP is a leadership platform that has impacted the lives of many nutritionists on the continent, including most of the ANM editorial members. We welcome this newsletter and are thankful to its editor for contributing to this year-end issue of ANM. The 2nd high level intergovernmental meeting and the second international conference on nutrition (ICN 2), jointly

organized

by

the

Food

and

Agriculture

Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), brought together in Roma Italy, November 1921st 2014, more than 2200 participants from 170 countries. ICN2 took place and resulted in two outcome

The ANM editorial team would like to especially thank

channel

documents–the Rome

Declaration

on

Nutrition and the Framework for Action—that set a new global momentum to eradicate all forms of malnutrition

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were

endorsed

by

participating


governments at the conference (a future issue of ANM will further report on these documents). Prior to the ICN2, the first ever Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) global gathering was held at the FAO to explore ways to enhancing the SUN “Movement’s ability to

ANM PHOTO CONTEST A picture is worth a thousand words

support the achievement of results by SUN countries by i) reflecting on progress for scaling up nutrition in

Send us a photo taken by you with a short

countries, ii) considering progress and achievements in

description/story (100 words) to:

strengthening

newsletter@answeb.org.

country

capacity

to

deliver,

and

accelerate support in areas of identified need and iii) contributing to the outcomes of ICN2 through shared country experiences and approaches to scaling up

The best photos will be featured in our next issues.

nutrition. A common feature of these events is a global shift of the nutrition discourse towards the important role of foods systems and from health lead nutrition policy to a more collaborative multi-stakeholder and multisectoral

approach

to

nutrition

with

a

strong

coordination mechanism for more sustainable results.

ANM CONTRIBUTIONS

ANM editorial team is supportive of this global shift in

If you have a subject that you would like to

approach and vision for nutrition. Another novel

see featured in the next issues of African

important concept that emerges from both ANEC VI

Nutrition Matters, you are welcome to send

and SUN global gathering is the “systemic or strategic capacity”. It suggests the important role of system approach to capacity building as technically skilled human resource alone is no longer enough to overcome the system level bottlenecks and barriers to eradicating nutrition in a more sustainable ways. We support and welcome these developments in the field of nutrition. Wish of the year 2015. Nonsikelelo Mathe and Dia Sanou

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us your suggestions: newsletter@answeb.org


POST-CONFERENCE INTERVIEW Well, the theme chosen was: “Food and Nutrition

WITH PAUL AMUNA, CHAIR OF THE

Security in Africa – challenges and opportunities”. First

ANEC VI

of all the scientific committee was pleased to see a range of abstracts submitted which spoke to the theme in various ways. The conference programme NONSIKELELO MATHE University of Alberta Canada

was very balanced with a good blend of nutrition science and developmental biology, clinical and public health aspects of nutrition research and practice as well as programmatic activities which provide the

Are you happy with how the conference turned out?

speakers was also excellent as ANEC was able to attract the best names in the field of nutrition from

Yes, indeed as Chairman of the International Scientific Committee, I am very satisfied with the outcome. It was good to see so many students and young scientists interacting with global experts in nutrition and learning from them. There were brilliant scientific presentations

evidence base for what works. The line up of keynote

and

posters

from

a

range

Africa and more globally who spoke to the theme and offered not only good food for thought, but motivated and challenged us all in terms of how we could contribute to meeting the nutrition and food security challenges in Africa.

of

backgrounds and topics including from undergraduate students. Particularly gratifying was the contribution of the young scientists to the conference activities. Bear in mind that globally we are currently at a cross-roads in terms of how we deliver the Essential Nutrition Actions (ENA) necessary to scale up nutrition and improve the health of the most vulnerable in our societies, especially post-2015. My hope lies in the next generation of nutrition scientists and I feel strongly about the need for them to be trained properly so that they can contribute meaningfully to health care delivery and also develop their leadership skills to support Africa’s drive for better nutrition and health. There is nothing better in this world than home-grown practitioners and experts. That is what every nation in Africa needs and I saw that future here at the ANEC IV conference in Accra.

“GM Food Debate” which brought scientists, civil society advocates and the general public together was both animated and engaging. It demonstrated the strength of feeling that exists on the issue of genetically modified foods and also sadly exposed the level of misunderstanding, mistrust and a lack of knowledge and information on the subject among the

What is your overall view on how the theme of the meeting was reflected and responded to by participants of the conference?

The pre-conference public engagement event on the

general public. The lively debate allowed some of the burning questions to be confronted head-on; and it was clear that we have a lot of work to do to educate the public on food in general and especially the

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application

of

technologies

including

genetic

training,

workforce

capacity

building

and

the

engineering in general and genetic modification in its

regulation of the nutrition profession. The range of

broadest sense to addressing some of our food and

topics covered included maternal and child nutrition

nutrition security needs in Africa.

and health, malnutrition and its management and the growing burden of chronic nutrition-related non-

Dr David Nabbaro’s, (the UN Secretary-General’s

communicable diseases. In this regard, it was pleasing

Special Representative on Global Scaling Up Nutrition)

to see the conference cover topics like nutrition and

eloquent presentation via video-link on nutrition

cancer which until now has been given very little

capacity building, the SUN Movement and the

attention in Africa and I think Professor Martin

challenge to our delegates to be more engaged in, and

Wiseman from the World Cancer Research Fund gave a

contribute to scaling up nutrition to mitigate the

brilliant talk on the subject which was insightful,

scourge of malnutrition in high burden countries set

informative and most thought-provoking.

the scene and the tone for the conference week. To cite a few examples, It was pleasing to see experts

Other major topics included food safety and food

such as Professor Anna Lartey, Head of the Nutrition

policy, nutrition-sensitive agriculture and the various

Division at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization

workshops on topics ranging from new tools for

(FAO, Rome) speak specifically to the theme and blend

dietary

in the importance of nutrition-sensitive agriculture as

screening, and the FAO’s workshops on professional

a way to address our nutrition needs. Others such as

training in nutrition education (ENACT) and Food

Professor

Composition

Alan

Jackson

spoke

eloquently

about

nutrition capacity building and the importance of good

intake

assessment

Databases

in

cancer

(INFOODS).

and

The

NCD

packed

audiences at the various symposia, seminars, poster

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sessions and other activities demonstrate the level of

in Africa, awarded to Professor Anna Lartey and the

participants’ involvement in the conference activities

Nevin Scrimshaw Award for a lifetime achievement in

and how much they benefited from the week in Accra,

international nutrition whose recipient was Professor

including over-subscription of the post-conference

Alan Jackson. These were two most deserving scientists

training workshops. It was also great to see a lot of

and

networking among students, researchers and experts

generations of nutritionists and we hope they will

which bodes well for the future. The British Nutrition

continue to do so for many more years to come.

practitioners

who

continue

to

inspire

all

Society’s ANEC Education and Training workshop which this year focused on training in scientific writing for

Can you draw links between the conference theme

publication was another major highlight which like all

and the final declaration?

the others, was over-subscribed. Yes indeed. The conference theme focused not only on Other highlights to mention were the workshop on

the challenges, but also opportunities for addressing

nutrition capacity building and the launch of the

Africa’s food security and nutrition challenges. In the

eNutrition Academy (eNA), an online platform to

conference Declaration, there was a recognition of the

support nutrition training across African institutions.

tasks ahead, where we are at the moment and

The former engaged both the students and young

responsibilities for all, including first global bodies and

scientists and experts and professionals, to gauge their

national governments; the need for partnerships

perspectives. It was good to see that the general

between academic institutions and professional bodies

consensus was towards a unified nutrition curriculum

and not least, we, the food and nutrition scientists,

for training and a call for professional registration and

researchers, advocates and civil society to provide

accreditation of training courses in nutrition. The

leadership and a unified front in ensuring good quality

launch of the eNA was the culmination of months of

training and competencies for professional practice to

work between the African Nutrition Society (ANS) and

support

the Federation of African Nutrition Societies (FANUS)

meaningfully to tackling malnutrition in all its forms.

the

health

workforce

and

contribute

on the one hand, and the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) and the Nutrition Society (NS) of Great

Any final thoughts and take home messages?

Britain and Ireland on the other, and in collaboration with the International Union of Nutritional Sciences

This conference has demonstrated the commitment of

(IUNS), the global body of nutritional scientists. This

the ANS to provide the right platform and promote

initiative further demonstrates the uniqueness of the

partnerships not only among Africans, but with the

ANS and ANEC in the sense that these meetings are

rest of the international community with a common

not just another ‘talk shop’ but a platform for actions

agenda and focus on confronting and addressing

aimed at providing avenues and solutions to the needs

Africa’s food and nutrition challenges. Our challenge is

of nutrition professionals and institutions in Africa to

to embrace and work tirelessly towards a unified, well

build a much stronger and more effective and

trained and competent African continental nutrition

competent workforce to support the health sector.

workforce to support health improvements and ultimately make malnutrition history.

My assessment of the conference and its outcomes will be incomplete without mention of two key awards – the ANS Award for distinguished services to nutrition

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THE GREATEST GIFT IS KNOWLEDGE

knowledge, to help train nutritionists in developing

The eNutrition Academy: a charity with a very different mission

nations, enabling them to advise their governments and populations on the best options for them. The eNutrition Academy has been created to help teach nutrition science to a new generation of nutritionists around

the

world

free

of charge;

especially in parts of the world where people are most at risk of malnutrition such as Africa, South Asia and Prof. Emer. CATHERINE GEISSLER

South America. The eNA is backed by five founding

Chair of the eNutrition Academy / President of the

partners: the African Nutrition Society (ANS), American

Nutrition Society, UK and Ireland

Society for Nutrition (ASN), Federation of African Nutrition Societies, International Union of Nutritional

Sometimes the greatest gift to help people improve

Sciences (IUNS) and the Nutrition Society of the United

their lives is knowledge. Many charities do excellent

Kingdom and Ireland.

work in developing nations, distributing donations by way of money, food, clothes and through local

The eNA was formally launched at the sixth African

infrastructure projects.

Nutrition Epidemiology Conference (ANEC VI) in Ghana

The eNutrition Academy (eNA) is also a charity.

in July 2014. There was a great deal of interest in the

However, the way in which it aims to help people is

new organisation with real support from delegates.

very different. The eNA’s mission is to give people

The global e-learning platform is being delivered by

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Cambridge University Press and contributions to

partnerships

course materials are expected from academics around

involved in the eNA at this early stage will have a real

the world. The eNutrition Academy will initially offer

opportunity to influence the sort of course content

its online courses in Africa where there is an urgent

that is made available and shape how the online

need

platform is used and evaluated.

for

capacity

building.

Understanding

and

and

gauge

interest.

Those

getting

applying nutrition science can have a significant, positive impact on public health and the huge global

The eNA is focusing on the African continent in the

problems we face around malnutrition and obesity.

first instance. Courses will be tailored for the African

Qualified nutritionists and dietitians have a major role

market,

to play in policy making, healthcare, education,

infrastructure, so that nutrition science capacity-

agriculture and food manufacturing. The eNA will work

building is regionally led and local scientific knowledge

in partnership with local universities and colleges to

helps us meet African requirements.

complement and enhance their offering to students. It

To find out more about the eNA, and get details of how

will also be of great benefit to those already in work

to contact us please visit the website:

seeking continuous professional development.

www.enutritionacademy.org

The first eNA course – Assessment of Dietary Intake for Individuals – is currently being tested. More courses will follow in due course. The eNA would like to hear from universities teaching nutrition and dietetics

courses

across

Africa

to

forge

early

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designed

to

suit

local

needs

and


CANCER AND AFRICA

vast majority of this increase is going to happen in lower income countries. Lower income countries are adopting Western dietary patterns There are two main reasons for this – firstly, a general increase in the numbers of older people across the globe. Of course this increase in life expectancy is generally to be welcomed, and is not something we’d

MARTIN WISEMAN

want to reverse, but the fact is that cancers mainly

World Cancer Research Fund International

occur in older people. Secondly, the lower income countries of the world – including many in Africa – are

Right now cancer is less of a problem in Africa than in

undergoing a real change in the way people live their

higher income parts of the world, like Europe, North

lives. They are becoming more urban and less rural;

America and Oceania, where rates of cancer are at

less physically active in everyday life; they are adopting

least double that in Africa. Although the occurrence of

Western – fast becoming international – dietary

different cancers varies across the continent, Africa is

patterns, and are subject to global marketing and

a low risk area compared to other parts of the globe

other social and political pressures.

for cancers of the lung, bowel, breast and prostate. So

The result of this so-called nutrition transition is that

why, you might ask, have I been invited to talk about

over the next few decades, people in Africa are likely

cancer

to develop rates and cancer patterns similar to those

at

the

African

Nutrition

Epidemiology

Congress?

we see in the higher income countries. But this is

I mean, it’s not just that the rates of these globally

largely avoidable. At World Cancer Research Fund

common cancers are rather low in Africa, but that

International, we estimate that in high income

those cancers that do occur more commonly in Africa

countries about a third of the commonest cancers, and

are related to infections – those of the cervix (human

about a quarter of all cancers, could be avoided by

papilloma

pylori),

being more physically active, eating a healthy diet and

sarcoma

maintaining a healthy weight. Together with smoking,

(HIV/AIDS). By contrast, the most common cancers in

according to the World Health Organization, that

high-income countries – breast, colon, prostate, lung –

means about half of all cancers are avoidable.

oesophagus

virus (HPV

HPV), again)

stomach and

(H.

Kaposi’s

are not known to have infective origins, and are more closely linked to lifestyle behaviours such as smoking or being overweight and obese. Cancer rates are set to increase globally by 50% by 2030 Well, the answer is that the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the number of new cancers occurring globally every year will go up from the current figure of about 14 million, to 22 million by 2030 – an increase of 50%. And they estimate that the

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And while the UK and other developed countries have allowed this to happen, it could be prevented in countries going through the social changes that we have already experienced. The typical high-income pattern of sedentary behaviour and poor diet is an unintended consequence of economic development – but not a necessary one. These lifestyle behaviours have been considered to be off limits for politicians, resulting in an environment that has changed remarkably over the last few decades; where the default position for most people is not to eat healthily and be active, but just the opposite. Across the world, countries are only just beginning to wake up to the enormous cost of treating diseases related to poor nutrition, such as cancer and heart disease; not to mention the added cost of lost productivity due to ill health and early death. Put simply, such diseases cost a fortune – a fortune that low income countries just don’t have. So prevention has to be the sensible answer, and that means garnering the political will to create healthy food environments for populations across the world. Although for the UK, the boat has sailed, for countries in Africa there is a chance – a limited window, but a chance – to not let that happen. Examples of effective food policies from around the world Our

policy

team

works

to

encourage

national

governments to take comprehensive policy action to promote healthier diets. African countries can learn from effective policies that have been implemented elsewhere and tailor them to their specific context. So based on the evidence, and with political will, countries in Africa can avoid the public health mistakes we made in higher income countries and build societies where people live longer, but remain healthy into old age. I urge Africa not to make the same mistakes as us.

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The FAO ENACT project

ENACT at ANEC

Education for effective nutrition in

and its proposed extension to francophone Africa,

action - professional training in

ENAF (The ENACT project in Francophone Africa)1.

Two events were held at ANEC 2014 to publicize ENACT

nutrition education

1/ A pre-conference workshop to introduce ENACT, targeting university and NGO staff;

JANE SHERMAN, RAMANI WIJESINHA-BETTONI, YVETTE FAUTSCH, ANTHONY JENNINGS, MELISSA VARGAS, ELLEN MUEHLHOFF*

2/A symposium conducted with piloting partners to share piloting country experiences.

Food and Agriculture Organization These contributions were very timely since there was a *Correspondence to: Ellen Muehlhoff, Senior Officer Nutrition

strong conference focus on nutrition capacity building

Education and Consumer Awareness Group, Nutrition Division, Food

and the expansion of e-learning. Many institutes

and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome.

expressed interest in incorporating ENACT into their

Ellen.Muehlhoff@fao.org

curricula. Background to ENACT Promoting healthy and sustainable diets for everyone

Pre-conference

is a major aim of the Food and Agriculture

workshop was facilitated by two experienced ENACT

Organization of the United Nations (FAO). People need

tutors—Dr Gloria Otoo from the University of Ghana

access to adequate food and must be empowered to

and Prof. Judith Kimiywe from Kenyatta University,

make healthy food choices. Nutrition education is key

Kenya. The 24 participants attending the session

to ensuring the knowledge and skills to practise

reported

healthy eating.

expressed in having a longer orientation/training session,

orientation

enjoying developing

the

workshop:

approach.

diploma

and

Interest

The

was

postgraduate

In 2010-2011 FAO conducted an assessment of

versions of ENACT, and extending it to other health

professional training in nutrition education in seven

professionals (medical students, nurses).

countries in Africa, which highlighted the need for capacity development in this field. In January 2012 FAO started the ENACT project to develop, pre-test and disseminate a basic undergraduate course in nutrition education, to be delivered both face-to-face and online.

During

universities Nigeria,

2012-14,

(Botswana,

Tanzania

and

seven Ghana, Uganda)

African

partner

Ethiopia,

Kenya,

contributed

to

developing the course by piloting it and discussing it at workshops in Ghana, Uganda and Ethiopia. You can ENACT pre-conference workshop: participants hard at work

find out more at: http://www.fao.org/ag/humannutrition/nutritioneduca tion/69725/en/

Symposium: The session, which was attended by approximately 70 people, was opened by Dr Anna

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Lartey, Director of FAO Nutrition Division. Interest was high and the discussion was lively. Piloting partners from Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania, ENACT team members and Dr Paul Amuna delivered brief presentations, and piloting students from the University of Ghana also shared their experiences.

Full house at the ENACT symposium

What’s next? The face-to-face version of the ENACT module is being finalized, and work on the online version is ongoing. Piloting partners are now being selected for the project in Francophone Africa (ENAF). Once finalized, the ENACT material will be available free to interested institutions. In conclusion… It seems that the time is right for ENACT in Africa! As a Kenyan participant said: "What I'm hearing now is what I've been waiting for....counselling skills, skills to help convince people are lacking. KNDI (the Kenya Nutritionists and Dieticians Institute) will push for this course, and even re-train those already on the field!" And a voice from Niger: "I myself am a teacher of nutrition education; I confess that I need this course! What I teach is a theoretical course. I tell my students not to teach nutrition, but I can't tell them how they should do it.” 1 The ENACT (GCP/INT/133/GER) and ENAF (GCP/INT/163/GER) projects are funded by the Government of Germany.

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African Nutrition Graduate

America to an institution in Africa – the pros and cons were discussed. The Coordinator was tasked to further

Students Network forum

look into the relocation of the network’s headquarters – consult with the founding fathers of the network for their inputs and advice the network accordingly. On JOSEPH ASHONG

the way forward, a number of suggestions were made;

Cornell University, US

the need to re-launch and re-brand the network going

BRENDA ZAHARI

into 2015 and the need for a review of the constitution

AGSNet

of the network to be abreast with time. The Coordinator and Brenda Zarhari were tasked to

AGSNet organized a short open forum as part of the

coordinate the re-launching. They are to form

recently held ANEC VI in Accra. In attendance were 32

committees to implement the re-launching of the

new, current and alumni members of the network. Top

network. Nonsi shared benefits of being a member of

on the agenda was the way forward for the network.

the network and activities carried out by the North

New members were warmly welcomed to the network

American Chapter. The forum was adjourned however,

and were given a brief history, structure and

discussions continue electronically via the network’s

function/purpose of the network by the Coordinator

main channel of communication – emailing! For more

ably supported by the alumni members present at the

information on membership and to be part of the

forum. The floor was then opened for questions and

discussions, send your name and email address to

comments. Topics discussed were; the role of

Joseph

members who have completed school, network

(abubrenda@yahoo.com).

holding symposia, status of the network’s website, leadership, and the relationship between the network and African Nutrition Society (ANS). Also discussed was the possibility of moving the headquarters of the network from Cornell University in the United States of

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(joashong@gmail.com)

or

to

Brenda


THE LEADER

ongoing education on nutrition leadership related topics.

Newsletter of the African Nutrition Leadership programme

It was strongly felt that THE LEADER should be owned by the ANLP-alumni. THE LEADER has permanent contributors as well as invited writers with every issue. The current team includes Christine Taljaard (Editor), Lisa Ware (Language Editor), Jane Badham, Leon Coetzee and Johann Jerling (Article writers). Jane, Leon and Johann are more than just familiar faces or CHRISTINE TALJAARD

experts in their respective fields to ANLP-alumni. They

Editor of “THE LEADER”,

have mentored, guided, advised, and encouraged

African Nutrition Leadership Programme

these young leaders and bring a warmhearted-

North-West University, South Africa

welcome-look to each issue.

The African Nutrition Leadership Programme (ANLP)

Immediately after the 10 day training programme,

has been developing nutrition leaders in Africa for

ANLP trainees are encouraged to return to their roles

more than ten years and this year, published the first

and to bring about the positive changes they have

issue of their official newsletter ‘THE LEADER’ (July,

embraced during the course. THE LEADER serves as a

2014). There are now more than 300 ANLP-alumni,

lifeline that continues to feed this energy and to keep

firmly establishing a network that, so far, reaches into

reminding alumni that in order to be an effective agent

33 African countries and several countries outside of

for change, the change must start and continue from

Africa. In December 2012, the core ANLP leadership

within. By promoting this personal growth and

team met to strategically plan ways to scale up the

providing readers with insight into nutrition current

programme and to bring renewed energy to this

affairs, THE LEADER supports alumni to lead from

growing network. It was decided that a newsletter

where they stand. Over the years, ANLP-alumni from

would help to keep people in touch, give a voice for

different years have gathered together at congresses

sharing experience and nutrition issues in Africa and

to share laughter, experiences and memories of their

promote the programme to achieve greater scale and

time at, what some may think of as, the ANLP ‘boot

thus THE LEADER was born.

camp’. Because of this shared common experience, you

will

find

people

supporting

each

other,

Several people committed themselves to contribute to

encouraging those who are tired, applauding those

this newfound initiative. There is little no worth in

who have succeeded. People reminding each other of

publishing just another twenty page newsletter that

shared virtues. May this be precisely what THE LEADER

would end-up in archives and trashcans before the

does, to unite a diverse group of people from various

first pages have been read. The intent of THE LEADER

working sectors across an extended network who will

was that it would serve as a communication channel

continue, through their leadership, to advance and

between the ANLP leadership team, ANLP-Alumni and

promote nutrition policy and practice across our

sponsors. Furthermore it would encourage and equip

continent.

those working in the field of nutrition by providing

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NUTRITION ADVOCACY IN EAST

through nutrition advocacy and communication on the continent. The advent of the SUN movement has seen

AFRICA

a rise in several organised nutrition advocacy civil society organisations/groups in Eastern Africa. In MUNIIRAH MBABAZI

Uganda, UCCO-SUN, PANITA in Tanzania, Rwanda SUN

Nottingham University, UK

Civil Alliance in Rwanda and SUN Civil Society Alliance

FUNGO ROBERT

of Kenya (SUN CSA) in Kenya. These groups base their

African Nutrition Society

work on the SUN principles that recognise the multi sectoral nature of the causes of malnutrition and

Nutrition as a foundation for human health and

therefore require several approaches from seemingly

development has gained global recognition and as

interlinked but detached sectors to drum up action for

such the nutrition agenda is on a higher global

nutrition improvements in their respective countries.

pedestal than never before. Governments across the

However, vividly lacking is the presence of strong

world and especially in the developing world have

individuals and institutions to generate and sustain

general consensus on the importance of nutrition in

nutrition at the highest national level agenda with

development. These kinds of developments have been

substantial engagement and involvement of the

possible due to nutrition advocacy. As seen in

Scientific and professional community. Though the

Copenhagen

2012

SUN recommends that the nutrition agenda be housed

philanthropists, economists and nutrition scientists

at the highest office in the land, like in the office of the

showed that an investment in nutrition is economically

President’s or Prime minister’s office, financing and

sound and was thus labelled the ‘best’ investment to

technical support still remain major issues especially

save lives of mothers and children as well as improve

in countries where there is no budget line for nutrition

children’s education outcomes. Once achieved, these

actions. It is feared that the gains from nutrition

are a cornerstone of improved economic productivity

advocacy could be lost if the status quo remains as is.

Consensus

outcomes

of

that many developing countries seek to achieve. However, working under constrained budgets nutrition

On the other hand, governments continue to work

still does not receive its due attention in many

with civil society organisations and donor partners to

government

African

provide tools for nutrition advocacy. Tools like the

countries. This has been in part due to lack of timely

PROFILES developed by the USAID have been used to

and clear information and capacity to push for better

generate estimates on the consequences of nutritional

investment in Nutrition. Where the information is

deficiencies in populations; the cost-effectiveness of

present, expertise is limited to provide sound analysis

proposed

and technical arguments to policy makers and

communicates results to various audiences. This tool

planners; hence the ineffectiveness of the facts as they

has

are presented in a way that does not appeal to

advocacy information in several countries and East

decision-makers or offers them clear alternatives with

Africa

both political and technical benefits.

understanding of the gains that could be achieved by

Worth noting is the remarked growth in capacity

reducing and preventing malnutrition and how much it

development for nutrition in many African countries

costs to provide the needed services. Estimates from

and as such expertise is slowly growing and there is a

this tool have been and continue to be the cornerstone

beacon of hope for better and more nutrition actions

of the process of nutrition advocacy.

programs

in

several

east

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been

nutrition instrumental

alike.

Further,

programmes in this

and

generating tool

also

nutrition

provides

an


The Eastern and southern African region still has high fractions of malnourished children with over 25 million or 40% of the under-fives stunted and a further 18% and 7% underweight and wasted respectively. Though reversible,

wasting

and

underweight

children

contribute a larger fraction to the numbers of malnourished

children

in

the

region.

However,

stunting is not reversible and affects more children than the two conditions combined. For African children to realise their full potential it is important for the current advocacy efforts to be sustained and boosted in the region. Further reading 1. Burkhalter R.B et al. 1999. Nutrition advocacy and national development: the PROFILES programme and its application. Bulletin of the World Health Organization77 (5) 2. Unicef, ND. Eastern and Southern Africa. Young Child survival and development. http://www.unicef.org/esaro/5479_nutrition.html

- 17 -


YOUNG SCIENTIST COLUMN

scientists/researchers and we must get involved in finding practicable and sustainable solutions to this particular challenge. The challenges we face in Africa

ISHAWU IDDRISU

as far as food and nutrition security is concerned are

MPhil. Human Nutrition and Dietetics

very reversible thus the need to adopt a more

Kwame Nkrumah Univ of Science and Technology

proactive, committed and participatory approaches in

Ghana

the fight against food security. Africa has all that it takes to be food and nutrition secured and it's our

The 6th African Nutritional Epidemiology Conference

duty to make this a reality.

(ANEC VI) held in Accra between 21st to 25th July was a great experience especially for me as a student delegate.

The

conference

offered

me

a

great

opportunity to share my research work and potentials with experts and professionals in nutrition across Africa and the world at large. ANEC VI specially gave the young and upcoming researchers like myself a platform to build on our research experiences and capabilities. I would like to use this opportunity to say a big thank you to the organizers, the research committee and the International Nutrition Foundation for the award and for the exposure given to the next generation of nutrition scientists. The theme for this year's conference couldn't have been better selected looking at the current food and nutrition security situation in Africa and other parts of the world. I was fascinated with the kind of scientific and practical solutions that the speakers at the conference offered to the food and nutrition security challenges that the continent is facing. One of the key message was the double burden of malnutrition and to tackle this we need multi-sectoral collaborations. This means that every sector has an active role to play to be able to achieve a sustainable food and nutrition secured continent. As said by my mentor; if we are able to implement and practice one third (â…“) of what we discussed at this conference, then Africa's poor food and nutrition security will be a thing of the past. The future of Africa and for that matter the world's food and nutrition security is in the hands of young

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Receiving the award for best oral communication at ANEC VI Accra, Ghana. 2014


Events 26 – 29 January, 2015 9th Asia Pacific Conference On Clinical Nutrition (APCCN 2015) Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

10 – 20 March, 2015 13th African Nutrition Leadership Programme South Africa.

14 – 18 May, 2015 12th Asian Congress of Nutrition (ACN2015) Yokohama, Japan.

5 – 8 October, 2015 15th International Nutrition & Diagnostics Conference Prague, Czech Republic.

20 – 23 October, 2015 12th European Nutrition Conference FENS 2015 Berlin, Germany.

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African Nutrition Matters Volume 2 No. 3 . December 2014

- 20 -

Issue of December 2014  

Focus on the 6th Africa Nutritional Epidemiology Conference (ANEC VI) in Ghana.

Issue of December 2014  

Focus on the 6th Africa Nutritional Epidemiology Conference (ANEC VI) in Ghana.

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