Transform Nutrition West Africa at the 16th ECOWAS Nutrition Forum

By Loty Diop and Roos Verstraeten

Transform Nutrition West Africa participated in the 16th ECOWAS Forum on Nutrition held in Monrovia from the 18th to 20th November 2019 on the theme “Adolescent Nutrition: Institutionalizing sustainable actions for improved outcomes in West Africa”.

The forum, which is held every two years, is a regional platform that brings together the major stakeholders in nutrition to review nutrition policies, practices, and progress in the reduction of malnutrition and diet-related diseases and innovative practices in the region. This was a valuable opportunity for TNWA to present the results on research studies on adolescent nutrition and to strengthen cooperation with partners of the West African Health Organization (WAHO) and representatives of ECOWAS countries.

The Current Landscape of Research on adolescent nutrition in West Africa: A Systematic Map to Guide Decision-Making, was presented by Loty Diop from IFPRI. The objective of this study was to identify and catalogue peer-reviewed research on adolescent nutrition in West Africa and to create a map of recent research evidence to inform decision-making for nutrition policies and programs in the region. The inclusion of adolescents in nutrition-relevant policies in Burkina Faso, Nigeria, and at the regional level was also analyzed.

This evidence synthesis demonstrated that, although there has been a steady increase over the past 20 years, research on adolescents remains limited in most West African countries. More importantly there is lack of published research on interventions, programs, and policies addressing adolescent nutrition. TNWA also presented its ongoing activities and resources (country profiles, policy review, newsletter) through an exhibition booth.

The forum was rounded off with several recommendations that WAHO will disseminate.