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Building systemic capacity for nutrition: Training towards a professionalised workforce for Africa

Building systemic capacity for nutrition: Training towards a professionalised workforce for Africa

Ellahi, Basma, Annan, Reginald, Sarkar, Swrajit, Amuna, Paul and Jackson, Alan A. (2015) Building systemic capacity for nutrition: Training towards a professionalised workforce for Africa. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 74 (4). pp. 496-504. ISSN 0029-6651 (Print), 1475-2719 (Online) (doi:10.1017/S0029665115002062)

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Abstract

The fundamental role played by good nutrition in enabling personal, social and economic development is now widely recognised as presenting a fundamental global challenge that
has to be addressed if major national and international problems are to be resolved in the coming decades. The recent focus provided by the Millennium Development Goals and the Scaling-Up-Nutrition (SUN) movement has been towards reducing the extent of nutrition-related malnutrition in high-burden countries. This has served to emphasise that there is a problem of inadequate professional capacity in nutrition that is sufficiently widespread to severely limit all attempts at the effective delivery and sustainability of nutritionrelated and nutrition-enabling interventions that have impact at scale. Many high-burden countries are in sub-Saharan Africa where there is a high dependency on external technical support to address nutrition-related problems. We have sought to explore the nature and magnitude of the capacity needs with a particular focus on achieving levels of competency within standardised professional pre-service training which is fit-for-purpose to meet the objectives within the SUN movement in Africa. We review our experience of engaging with stakeholders through workshops, a gap analysis of the extent of the problem to be addressed, and a review of current efforts in Africa to move the agenda forward. We conclude that there are high aspirations but severely limited human resource and capacity for training that is fit-for-purpose at all skill levels in nutrition-related subjects in Africa. There are no structured or collaborative plans within professional groups to address the wide gap between what is currently available, the ongoing needs and the future expectations for meeting local technical and professional capability. Programmatic initiatives encouraged by agencies and other external players, will need to be matched by improved local capabilities to address the serious efforts required to meet the needs for sustained improvements related to SUN in high-burden countries. Importantly, there are pockets of effort which need to be encouraged within a context in which experience can be shared and mutual support provided.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Proceedings of the Nutrition Society publishes papers and abstracts presented by members and invited speakers at the scientific meetings of The Nutrition Society. This paper was presented at the Africa Nutritional Epidemiology Conference (ANEC VI), held at Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, Accra on 20–25 July 2014.
Uncontrolled Keywords: capacity building, nutrition training, Africa, professionalisation, competencies
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:34
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/13757

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