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Harnessing the Power of Nutrition in New Training Partnership

The NNEdPro Professional Training Course for The Power Of Nutrition Team


Written by Wanja Nyaga, ANutr Reviewed by: James Bradfield, RNutr and Prof Sumantra Ray, RNutr


Background


The Power of Nutrition is an innovative financing and partnership platform. Their vision is a world where every child has the right nutrition to achieve their full potential. This is achieved by raising money and creating partnerships to advance the fight against malnutrition in Africa and Asia. In October 2021, the NNEdPro Global Centre was delighted to embark on a new training scheme with the innovative organisation, Power of Nutrition (PoN). NNEdPro has a proven track record in training students and professionals alike, but this was a new venture for all involved which involved the specific tailoring of many new materials.


The Power of Nutrition is an innovative financing and partnership platform. Their vision is a world where every child has the right nutrition to achieve their full potential. This is achieved by raising money and creating partnerships to advance the fight against malnutrition in Africa and Asia. Source: https://www.powerofnutrition.org/


The aims and goals of PoN match well with NNEdPro’s mission; to tackle the global crisis of malnutrition (in all its forms) by conducting research and delivering education in gap areas, empowering professionals, policymakers and the public; facilitating sustainable improvements in nutrition and health behaviours, accelerating progress towards the United Nations 2030 goals. Of course, the work of NNEdPro can only be conducted with willing partners and so this was a training scheme that was designed to promote inter-disciplinary and cross-sector collaboration. This was achieved by a series of lectures and workshops over a four-month period.


As a multi-disciplinary think-tank, NNEdPro is focused on equipping professionals with the tools they need to make a difference in nutrition outcomes, regardless of the sector within which they work. Having the opportunity to challenge ourselves in designing a bespoke programme for learners with a wide array of backgrounds and experiences was one that we thoroughly enjoyed, as detailed below.


Scope of the Professional Training


The programme consisted of five-highly informative modules, that were delivered by well-seasoned presenters with extensive experience in clinical and public health, health systems, research and nutrition science over a period of 4 months. The module titles were:

  • Foundational Concepts in Global Nutrition, Health and Disease

  • Identification and Management of Nutrition and Health Risks

  • Nutrition Interventions in Food and Health Systems

  • Nutrition Implementation for Population Health across the Lifecycle

  • Multisectoral and Systems Approaches and Nutrition-sensitive Policy


Each module aimed to equip the professionals with a clear understanding of various topics as outlined below:


Foundational Concepts in Global Nutrition, Health and Disease

This module focused on definitions of malnutrition and how undernutrition and obesity can co-exist. It also covered the descriptions of stunting and wasting (two of the more extreme forms of undernourishment) and the how-to tell the difference between them. There was an additional lecture and discussion on understanding the problems associated with anaemia, in the context of long-term health. Participants also received the latest update on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, how planetary issues and sustainable nutrition models play into achieving these goals and why nutrition underpins so many of the goals. As part of keeping up with current global challenges, the presenters shared how and why COVID-19 is disrupting progress in reaching nutrition goals. Examples given included food poverty and insecurity as well as barriers and opportunities to achieve global nutrition targets.


Identification and Management of Nutrition and Health Risks

It was important for the participants to gain an in-depth understanding of the lifecycle approach and the windows of optimal nutrition intervention. This goes hand in hand with the background of why the first 1,000 days are a ‘golden window’ of opportunity and why maternal health is such a strong predictor of population health. In addition, there were key presentations on the tools and epidemiological data used to identify nutrition and health risks and how interventions impact outcomes.


There was an emphasis on other topics that play an important role in nutrition statistics of individuals and populations such as:

  • An overview of the difference between population dietary advice and individual risk management

  • Key nutrition interventions from public health disease prevention to supplementation programmes

  • Why supplements and fortification can be difficult to implement in the food system and why they are important

  • The importance of an integrated approach for the sustainability of interventions

  • Why context is important –hygiene, cooking practices, storage abilities all contribute to nutrition success

  • Population health models – understanding the impact of the socio-political-economic context

  • Implementing Maternal Infant and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN) practices: the breadth of interventions from breastfeeding and weaning practices to adolescent nutrition to global differences

  • Understanding the touchpoints in the lifecycle where nutrition intervention can make the biggest impact

  • Understanding why female empowerment, education, mental health, agriculture, food labelling and taxation have an impact on nutrition status

  • Understanding how the capacity-load model/DoHAD explains long-term health consequences of malnutrition in pregnancy globally


Towards the end of the program, the participants took part in moderated discussion groups where they were tasked with mapping out program impact pathways, carrying out stakeholder analysis for a multisectoral approach and using gap analysis for predicting future research needs and health trends.


The training partnership was a huge success and we hope that it forms the basis for more partnerships in the future.


A huge thank you to all involved in the preparation, delivery of this training programme, namely, Prof Sumantra (Shumone) Ray, Dr Federica Amati, Dr Anand Ahankari, Dr Marjorie Lima Do Vale, James Bradfield, James Bryant, Dr Luke Buckner, Helena Trigueiro, Mei Yen Chan, Jørgen Torgerstuen Johnsen, Elaine Macaninch, Mayara de Paula, Dr Celia Laur, Prof Caryl Nowson, Breanna Lepre, Wanja Nyaga, Sucheta Mitra, Matheus Abrantes, Xunhan Li, Sarah Armes and Sally Ayyad.


Many thanks to the Power of Nutrition Coordinating team and colleagues for participating in the workshop and for a wonderful collaborating experience.


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