Call to Action endorsed by West African Health Organisation, stresses leadership


The Call To Action to invest in the data value chain for nutrition in West Africa, developed by participants in the Together for Nutrition: West African Data Forum has now been endorsed by WAHO. They state “WAHO supports this Call To Action, which is consistent with the strategic aims of the ECOWAS Regional Nutrition Strategic Plan. We commend this initiative to strengthen the management of nutrition data along the value chain for more effective planning, monitoring and decision-making.”

A recent review by Richmond Aryeetey and Namukolo Covic A review of leadership and capacity gaps in nutrition-sensitive agricultural policies and strategies for selected countries in sub-saharan Africa and Asia reinforces the call for strengthening leadership along the data value chain for nutrition across different sectors. They assessed how nutrition-sensitive agriculture policies, plans, and investments are in selected Sub-Saharan African (SSA) and Asian countries and which nutrition capacity and leadership gaps limit scale up of nutrition-sensitive agriculture policy and programs. Namukolo Covic summarizes their findings as “a reflection of an observation that is now widely pulpable on the African continent: that countries have increasingly put in place policy environments for multisectoral nutrition action that look good at face value. Indeed, many of the agricultural programs and policy instruments have considered nutrition sensitivity. But the significant challenge remains on the ability to implement effectively. This emphasizes the need to go beyond describing problem situations on nutrition research for the continent to finding solutions on how to best implement the policies that we now have better for impact.”

Richmond Aryeetey adds that it is not surprising to him that many of the countries included in the review have adequate provisions in their national agriculture policies/plans that are nutrition sensitive. He stresses the limited capacity for optimum implementation of these policies, programs, and strategies. “Having the policy is only the first step, marshalling resources (financial, institution, leadership, and other capacities) to translate the plans into effective action is where the biggest challenge is. To fix this, there is no global playbook to guide countries, because the limitations are contextual and so the solutions should be homegrown.”