Transform Nutrition West Africa at the Africa Nutritional Epidemiology conference 2018

Transform Nutrition West Africa, was involved in a number of sessions at the 8th Africa Nutritional Epidemiology Conference (ANEC VIII 2018) in Ethiopia October 1-5th and introduced the new platform to an external audience for the first time. This was a valuable opportunity to introduce some initial findings to partners in the region and make some new linkages.

The current landscape of research on World Health Assembly indicators in West Africa: a systematic map to guide decision-making was introduced by one of the authors Roos Verstraeten, IFPRI. The objective of the study is to identify and catalogue peer-reviewed research on the indicators for the World Health Assembly 2025 nutrition targets in West Africa, and create a map of recent research evidence to inform decision-making for nutrition policies and programs in the region.

Multiple malnutrition burdens in children under 5 and women of reproductive age in West Africa was also introduced by  Roos. Across West Africa, the burden of child and maternal malnutrition remains high. This study aims to assess the multiple malnutrition burdens in under five children and women of reproductive age in West Africa.

What are the Stories of Change in the Nutrition landscape in Ghana? Was presented by Richmond Aryeetey, University of Ghana. Richmond introduced The Stories of Change Initiative which aims to improve the agenda setting, conceptualization, and implementation of policies and planning related to nutrition at national and subnational levels in three countries in West Africa, including Ghana. This paper describes initial findings of the initiative’s efforts to understand what the nutrition priorities are in Ghana with respect to outcomes, processes, and opportunities. He concluded by saying that a diverse range of actions and players were identified as relevant for leveraging change in nutrition in Ghana and coordinated action is needed at local and national levels action is needed.

Namukolo Covic, IFPRI who is leading regional coordination and engagement with regional networks for Transform Nutrition West Africa:

o             Conducted a pre-conference training workshop on “Nutrition Leadership for Multisectoral Nutrition Action, challenges and opportunities” with more than 50 participants.

o             Facilitated a joint symposium with Bioversity International, FAO and IUNS on “mainstreaming agrobiodiversity in African food systems for healthy and sustainable diets”. The need to enhance use of underutilized African crops and foods to promote diet diversity was raised.

o             Chaired the NIPN symposium on “National Information Platforms to strengthen nutrition policy, and programme decisions/nutrition related research. Ethiopia, Niger and Mali presented and all are at different levels of implementation of the National Information Platforms for Nutrition (NIPN) process.

o             Presented a key note address on “What role can leadership play in governance for nutrition policies, strategies and programmes in Africa”. Information included in the key note will be included in the planned CAADP/SUN Capacity Strengthening Project.

o             Took part in a parallel session on “Multisectoral actions in nutrition and scaling up nutrition (SUN), developing an integrated framework of the drivers of food choices in urban Africa”. The session featured two presentations on an evaluation of nutrition policies of SUN countries by MQ-SUN.

o             Provided expert commentary after a presentation on “Developing an integrated framework of the drivers of food choice in Africa” focusing on urban environment.

The Africa Nutrition Conference (formerly, Africa Nutritional Epidemiology Conference [ANEC]) is the leading regional nutrition conference in Africa held biennially in various parts of the continent. ANEC provides a forum for nutrition scientists, public health professionals, academics, students and field-based workers in Africa and the rest of the world to meet regularly to share their research findings and best practices and to build capacity to address nutritional challenges in Africa