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Consultation Underscores Importance of Human Nutrition in Social Development

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A consultation and planning workshop for the African Nutritional Sciences Research Consortium hosted by Columbia University’s Global Center for Africa opened in Nairobi, Kenya, on Thursday, January 24. The workshop aims to provide a forum in which views and ideas of major stakeholders will be sought to inform long-term plans and strategies in implementing the nutritional sciences consortium.

Among other objectives, the meeting will present the goals and significance of the proposed training consortium in order to obtain sufficient buy-in from East African Governments and academic institutions, as well as from donors and the private sector. They include also gaining insight into existing research and training capacities for undertaking nutrition and nutrition-related Ph.D. training, and discussing the format and procedures for conducting baseline assessment of existing Ph.D. programs.

In his opening remarks, the Regional Director of the African Development Bank’s East African Regional Resource Centre (EARC), Gabriel Negatu, emphasized the importance of human nutrition in relation to human productivity and ultimately economic growth and Bank commitment to health and nutrition matters as outlined in the draft Human Capital Development Strategy. This consultation is critical in ensuring the Human Nutrition programs take into account the real issues on the ground in Africa and which should be taken into account in the proposed Ph.D. nutrition training, he said. Negatu also highlighted the regional approach to this initiative, which is consistent with the Bank’s efforts to promote regional integration in East Africa.

In one of the workshop presentations, representatives from Kenya Polytechnic University College acknowledged AfDB support in the new higher education science and technology (HEST) project in Kenya, specifically in terms of laboratory equipment for biochemistry. This will enable quality training and research not only in biochemistry but also in food science and nutrition.

The workshop brought together high-level expertise in the fields of human nutrition academic and regional research institutions from across the East African region.

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