February 23, 2023 (DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania): Today, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and East, Central, and Southern Africa-Health Commission (ECSA-HC) concluded a three-day meeting nutrition surveillance in Dar es Salaam.
The theme of the meeting was “innovations in food and nutrition surveillance: global and regional perspectives”.
This meeting brought together professionals in food and nutrition data from across the globe and was convened by the Learning Network on Nutrition Surveillance (LeNNS) initiative. Participants jointly called for concerted efforts to translate data and evidence into policy and programs in IGAD and ECSA regions.
The three-day meeting was officially opened on the 21st of February 2022 by Prof. Yoswa Dambisya, the Director General of ECSA-HC; Ziada Sellah, a representative of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Tanzania; and IGAD Head of Mission to Kenya, Dr. Fatuma Adan representing IGAD Executive Secretary.
“As a developmental organization, IGAD and its member governments are cognizant of the need for the generation and use of data for decision-making in development and emergency response,” remarked Dr. Fatuma Adan, IGAD Head of Mission to Kenya. Dr. Adan is also the senior health and nutrition coordinator at IGAD.
Participants at the meeting shared and learned about innovative systems, methods, and tools that can be used for dietary and nutritional surveillance for promoting impacts in East, Central, and Southern Africa. They also deliberated on how the innovations from out of the region can be adopted and adapted in IGAD and ECSA regions considering the prevailing contexts. These contexts include country and regional surveillance systems, human capacity, and resource bases.
“We are prepared to support the regional initiatives in data generation and analysis to support decisions in the East, Central, and Southern region and to work with all development partners on this front,” noted Prof. Yoswa Ndambisa, the Director General of ECSA-HC.
“The Republic of Tanzanian welcomes all development partners and practitioners to work with us to ensure that we improve our nutrition indicators. Republic of Tanzania has in place a robust nutrition program that we are implementing under the Ministry of Health and in aware of initiatives within the region. We thank IGAD, ECSA-HC and USAID among other partners for supporting our efforts,” said Ziada Sellah, the representative of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Tanzania”.
Participants resolved not only to continue exchanging information but also to work together to address the common concern in the way food and nutrition data is collected, analyzed, disseminated, and used.
LeNNS’s ultimate goal is to lead to effective nutrition policy formulation, advocacy, and action planning.
This initiative is supported through the funding from United States Agency for International Development (USAID)LeNNS is an initiative for fostering learning and exchange of information and practices on nutrition surveillance among experts from public and research institutions, as well as partners involved in nutrition programming and surveillance in the region.. Participants were government nutrition experts, universities and research institutions from Djibouti, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya, Somalia, Uganda and Ghana. Also represented in this meeting were World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF-East and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO), US Center for Disease Control (CDC) among other development partners.