The Uganda Action for Nutrition (UGAN) Society is mandated to engage in advocacy for national strategic actions and policies in nutrition and food security, as per the UGAN Strategic Development Plan (SDP) 2014-2019. In a bid to accomplish this, the UGAN Society with support from Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance (FANTA) III Project and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) organized a Nutrition Policy Review Dialogue centered around the draft National Nutrition Policy to provide the UGAN Members, who are uniquely conversant with nutrition matters in Uganda, a platform to contribute and influence on the shaping of the Uganda National Nutrition Policy.
The Policy Review Dialogue took place on Friday 6th May, 2016 at Makerere University. The UGAN Members were expected to present to the consultants formulating the policy their views after perusing the draft policy prior to the day of the dialogue. Peter Milton Rukundo was tasked with the duty of compiling the various comments and making a presentation on the day of the dialogue, which duty he did justice. However, members still had an opportunity to give suggestions during the dialogue. A few points that were emphasized in the presentation and also by the members at the dialogue were:
- Some components stated in the policy were not exhaustively worded and others needed “sharpening” for clear understanding
- Rationale and justification lacking in the policy
- Several declarations to which Uganda is a signatory were not reflected in the draft and neglect showed lack of commitment
- Need to broaden the glossary
- Developing the policy using statistics from UDHS 2011 which will be outdated because we are expecting the UDHS 2016 soon
- Need for strong linkage with other sector policies
- Need to strengthen focus on nutrition-sensitive / multi-sectoral approaches throughout the whole policy
- Gender issues are sparsely included in the policy
The panelists of the dialogue were Boaz Musiimenta from the Office of the Prime Minister; Dr Silver Ssewanyana, policy consultant from Winsor Consult; Louise Sserunjogi, policy consultant from Winsor Consult and Prof. Abuid Omwega, Nutrition Manager, UNICEF. The panelists urged the UGAN Chairperson, Dr Robert Mwadime to nominate two persons who would represent the UGAN Society in a reference team mandated with reviewing the policy drafted by the consultants (Winsor Consult). The representatives would ensure that the interests of nutritionists are not neglected especially those issues that might miss being captured at the dialogue.
In his closing remarks, Dr Robert Mwadime thanked the UGAN members for taking the time to attend the dialogue and give their recommendations. He said, “…..as nutritionists, we needed to have a say in the policy because we are the people who will have to use this document, so we need to have one we can actually use and be proud of.”
written by Tracy L. Birungi