9th IBFAN Africa Regional Conference

Uganda has been honored with the privilege to host the 9th International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN). The event was organised by IBFAN Uganda in collaboration with IBFAN Africa and Ministry of Health Uganda. It was held at Imperial Royale Hotel, Kampala from 1st – 4th February, 2016.

The theme of the conference was Translating the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding into Optimal Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition in Africa.

The conference was filled with representatives from all over the continent; Swaziland, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, South Africa, Zimbambwe, Nigeria, Gambia, Ghana and others. The first day saw presentations on Policy and Legal Frameworks of the participating countries. Participants also presented on knowledge, experiences, research gaps and good practices from implementation of maternal, infant and young child feeding interventions in the Africa region.

Captions from Day One

The second day of the conference was filled with a variety of activities from the presentations given by participants on numerous topics, the opening ceremony that was lively and vibrant with entertainment by the Ndere Troupe to the inauguration of the IBFAN Africa Regional Coordinator. The second day of this regional conference was graced with speakers that presented on nutrition programmes and interventions, catered especially to mothers, infants and young children from the participating countries; monitoring and evaluation of nutrition programmes, challenges and recommendations; infant and young child feeding in emergencies, impact and challenges. The conference was then officially opened and the guest of honor, the Prime Minister, was represented by the State Minister of Health, Dr Elioda Tumwesigye.  Barbara Nalubanga was inaugurated into office as the Regional Coordinator, IBFAN Africa. The opening ceremony ended with a group photograph, entertainment from the Ndere Troupe and a buffet that participants gladly enjoyed.

Captions from Day Two

With the conference now officially opened, the 3rd day was a hive of presentations that were mostly in break-out sessions. It kicked off with participants speaking on the multi-sectoral approaches in nutrition, civil society engagement in furthering the nutrition agenda, climate  change and its implication on maternal, infant and young child nutrition and finally evidence strengthening in nutrition programmes. The break-out sessions were filled with presentations on mother support and community outreaches seen in the participating countries and nutrition programmes and interventions detailing evidence strengthening. Nominations for candidates that would be representing the regions of Africa in IBFAN were also started and would end with elections on the fourth day of the conference.

Captions from Day Three

Captions from Day Four

The fourth and final day of the conference started with Sub-Regional Discussions on key Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN) actions where the conference participants were able to come up with key recommendations on MIYCN in their countries and sub-regions. The key recommendations were then presented by Dr Paul Kaggwa, Commissioner Health Promotion, Ministry of Health. Some of the recommendations proposed included:

  • Advocate for complete political commitment and will to increase funding for nutritional causes
  • Embark on research into these nutrition issues and ensure public dissemination of findings
  • Invest in a multi-sectoral plan to address childhood obesity and under-5 stunting
  • Develop a strategy to prevent and address childhood obesity
  • Strengthen multi-sectoral collaboration and coordination
  • Scaling up and strengthening of  Baby Friendly Hospital Initiatives (BFHI) and district plans for MIYCN.

A conference statement on MIYCN was then given by the newly inaugurated Regional  Coordinator, Barbara Nalubanga. The guest of honor, the Minister of Gender, Labor & Social Development, Hon. Wilson Muruli Mukasa then officially closed off the conference.

All presentations given at the conference can be accessed on the IBFAN Uganda website.