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Sunday, 04 November 2018 11:42

Country Strengthens National Nutrition Surveillance Capacities

Khartoum - The World Health Organization (WHO), in cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Health in Sudan, organized a 3-day regional workshop in Khartoum to endorse a comprehensive implementation plan on maternal, infant, and young child nutrition in the Eastern Mediterranean Region.
The plan includes 6 global nutrition targets to be achieved by 2025. These targets focus on reducing the number of stunted children under 5 years of age by 40%, reducing number of women of reproductive age with anaemia by 50%, decreasing low birth weight by 30%, increasing exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months to at least 50%, and reducing and maintaining wasting in children to under 5%.
The workshop was attended by national nutrition specialists directly involved in nutrition surveillance and reporting in countries such as Afghanistan, Bahrain, Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Palestine, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia and Yemen.
“Strengthening the national nutrition surveillance capacity in Sudan is one of the country’s national top priorities,” said Dr Naeema Al Gasseer, WHO Representative in Sudan.
“WHO, alongside the national health authorities, is closely monitoring and evaluating the progress of the global nutrition policies and programmes in Sudan to better achieve the global nutrition targets for the 2025 plan.”
The causes of malnutrition are interconnected. Insufficient access to affordable nutritious food throughout the year, inadequate access to health sanitation and clean water services, lack of good care for mothers and children, in addition to supporting parents on appropriate child feeding practices are among these causes which are rooted in poverty, disempowering women, and cultural environment and environmental degradation.

“The workshop is expected to familiarize Sudan, among other participating countries, with the global nutrition monitoring framework to assist them in tracking their progress and obtain reliable, timely and sustainable surveillance system,” said Dr Ayoub Al Jawaldeh, WHO Regional Adviser for Nutrition. “It will also familiarize participating countries with the harmonized methods for data collection, analysis and reporting on the gaps in national nutrition indicators and recommendations.”
The GNMF has 20 indicators, of which 6 are outcome indicators for monitoring global nutrition targets, 5 intermediate indicators, 6 process indicators, and 3 policy environment and capacity indicators.
“This training will certainly enhance monitoring the national targets in the Region and allow the comparability of data for monitoring the global nutrition targets,” said Dr Ahmed Mustafa, a participant in the workshop. “This can only be done through aligning the indicators included in the national surveillance systems to those in the GNMF and adopt best practices for data collection in countries,” he added.
The workshop recommended integrating the nutrition surveillance system in Sudan with other available systems like the polio surveillance. It also encouraged using epidemiological and raw data at the health facility level.
WHO has been heavily involved in the national nutrition programme in Sudan through facilitating and guiding activities of Civil Society Alliance and coordinating with various partners, national sectors, and donors. So far, the organization has supported 8 civil society organizations, 2 of which received grants to facilitate their field activities.
Further, nutrition surveillance in Sudan has so far been supported by WHO and donor communities to generate data on nutrition situation on regular basis which is essential to measure impacts and design programme interventions.