A one-day National Multi-Stakeholder Nutrition Forum and 1st National Nutrition Conference was held at the Fiesta Royale Hotel in Accra on 21st January 2020. The Forum was jointly convened by the University of Ghana (UG); the Ghana Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (GAND); Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology; the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) -Voice for Change Partnership (V4CP). Collaborators for the Forum included the John Agyekum Kufour (JAK) Foundation and University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS). The Forum was intended to focus attention on the role of evidence in decision-making and implementation of national nutrition priorities, policies, and programmes.
The Forum created the opportunity to validate findings of the Stories of Change research initiative by the University of Ghana, School of Public Health, and to disseminate findings of various nutrition and food environment research and advocacy initiatives. These initiatives included the Researching the Obesogenic Food Environment (ROFE) study implemented by the Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. From the University of Ghana, three research projects were featured: Providing Measurement, Evaluation, Accountability and Leadership Support (MEALS4NCDS) for Non-communicable Diseases (NCDS) Prevention, Dietary Transitions in Ghanaian/African Cities (DFC/TACLED), and the Accra Urban Adolescent Nutrition Study. The SNV also presented evidence on its project, Voice for Change Partnership (V4CP).
The Chief Executive Officer of the JAK Foundation, Professor Baffour Agyeman-Duah, presented the keynote address on behalf of Former President John Agyekum Kufour, a member of the Global Panel of Agriculture, Food Systems and Nutrition. Professor Agyeman-Duah highlighted the work being carried out by the JAK Foundation and further indicated the support of the Foundation to the work academia is doing to bring evidence into decision making. The Minister of Planning, Professor George Yaw Gyan-Baffour delivered a solidarity message in support of the Forum. His address emphasized the government’s recognition of the social, health and economic cost of malnutrition and commitment of Government to address malnutrition in all its forms.
His Excellency, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Netherlands to Ghana, Ron Strikker attended and delivered a message in solidarity with the Forum. His address highlighted the economic and social cost of hunger to Ghana and efforts to address malnutrition through the V4CP. He also talked about the need for the government of Ghana to create a high-level National Nutrition Coordination body. The First Lady of the Republic of Ghana, Her Excellency Mrs Rebecca Akufo Addo also sent in her support for the Forum.
In total, the conference was attended by one hundred and six participants from multiple sectors including academic institutions, civil society, public and private sector institutions, diplomatic institutions and international organisations. The event was covered widely by a cross-section of mainstream media in Ghana.
We, the participants at the Forum observed that:
- The Forum was a multi-stakeholder platform that brought together cross-sectoral stakeholders who are implementing different aspects of the National Nutrition Policy and related programmes and are influential in bringing improvements in nutrition outcomes in Ghana if their work is effectively coordinated.
- The key research findings of studies shared at the Forum have contributed to increased evidence on stunting and anaemia and the food environment in Ghana. It has also increased our common resolve to broaden the use of evidence to inform increased budgetary allocation to nutrition programmes, and to inform the improved and inclusive implementation of nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive policies.
Following the presentations and discussions, participants adopt the following resolutions:
We resolve to:
- Develop capacities in nutrition through training, research, programme and stakeholder engagements.
- Influence and strengthen the cross-sectoral collaboration among all key stakeholders in nutrition.
- Increase multi-stakeholder collaboration in nutrition policy implementation
- Increase and raise the profile for the coordination of nutrition policy implementation.
- Advocate for political commitment for enhanced implementation of Infant and Young Child Feeding.
- Advocate, promote and support targeted consumer messages to support health and nutrition literacy.
- Advocate for the deployment of policies, regulatory, and legislative tools toward improving the Ghanaian food environment.
- Work with the media to improve nutrition coverage in both print and electronic media, while minimizing misinformation.
- Support evidence-informed Nutrition Policies and Programmes now and beyond.
We call on the government to:
- Establish a National Food and Nutrition Commission to strengthen coordination of Food and Nutrition policies in the country
- Ensure that the inter-ministerial coordinating committee on nutrition conducts a structured engagement with academia, research and civil society.
- Ensure the Presidency plays a coordinating role in the work of the inter-ministerial committee.
- Allocate sufficient funding with clear budget lines for nutrition coordination, programmes and research.
- Enforce legislation to control promotion/advertising of unhealthy food and beverages in key food environments (including communities and schools).
- Enforce legislation to control the advertising of unhealthy food and beverages in the media.
- In addition, develop and enforce policies on nutrition labelling.
- Institute measures to comprehensively address post-harvest losses, most especially at the point of sale to improve food hygiene and wastage.
- Support robust and innovative implementation of food environment research and practice in Ghana and Africa.
SIGNED BY CO-COVENERS:
|Prof. Richmond Aryeetey Stories of Change in Nutrition in Ghana School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Legon ------------------------------||Dr Reginald Annan ROFE Project Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, College of Science ------------------------||Dr Amos Laar DFC/TACKLED/ MEALS4NCDS School of Public Health University of Ghana, Legon ----------------------------|
|Mr Eric Banye SNV/Voice for Change Partnership -----------------------------||Dr Kingsley Pereko Ghana Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics --------------------------||Dr Kodjo Essiem Mensah-Abrampa National Development Planning Commission ------------------------|