The current capacity for training in public health nutrition in West Africa

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Abstract

This article is based on a paper prepared for the Workshop on Establishing a Regional Institute for Public Health Nutrition Research and Training in West Africa, convened in Dakar, Senegal, 26-28 March, 2009. Information was gathered mainly prior to this workshop; several responses, however, came in after the workshop and these have been included in the current paper. In completion of the article use was made of the views and opinions as expressed during this workshop. Objectives were to provide background information on academic programmes (undergraduate and graduate) and research institutions with a focus on human nutrition in West Africa, to describe the importance of foreign nutrition training programmes for West African students and to detail existing nutrition training activities currently in the region. Data were obtained from a survey of 15 UNICEF country offices in the West African region, previously published reports, United Nations University/International Union of Nutrition Sciences capacity development activities 1996-2009, personal communications and websites of relevant African institutions. Results indicate that West African nutrition academic programmes and research institutes do not adequately meet the demand for nutritionists and technical services in the region. Exceptions seem to be Bnin, Ghana and Nigeria. Diploma courses and other short courses have been an important means of attracting people from a variety of disciplines to nutrition. A well-equipped regional institute could directly and indirectly bolster nutrition capacity in the region. To meet the regional nutrition research and training needs in West Africa, it is not necessary to make a choice between creating a new regional institution vs. expanding existing national institutions. Based on solid capacity development principles, both options need action
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S20-S41
JournalGlobal Public Health
Volume5
Issue numberS1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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