By Lorraine Anyango.
Numerous nutrition training solves only a growing share of about 20 percent of the challenges in nutrition. More training focusing on food and nutrition security challenges would help, and curriculums must be reviewed.
There is a need to train nutritionists, with a multi-sectoral view to solve 80 percent of the nutrition challenges revolving around food and nutrition security.
Recently, Maseno University worked on a curriculum draft that will deal with the gaps, with projections to have the first class go through the nutrition-sensitive revised curriculum in September 2024.
The review not only brought together Maseno University lecturers in the line of nutrition but stakeholders in Kisumu County’s multi-sectoral nutrition platform as well to paint the grim reality of malnutrition within the communities and ensure that transformative interventions were part of the curriculum.
The curriculum inputted by the practitioners themselves provides for more practices that will see the students adopt either a family or grow kitchen gardens and practice mixed farming during their fourth year to demonstrate an understanding of interventions leading to both food and nutrition security.
The new curriculum blends nutrition-sensitive and specific interventions to meet market requirements.
“Everybody eats, so nutrition is very important in all our lives because it impacts our health and it eventually impacts the economy.” Dr. Pauline Andang’o dean faculty of nutrition and health, said during the curriculum drafting workshop.
“We have come to recognize that we need to involve other sectors to be able to address these issues, those that lead to these 80 percent that cannot be directly reached by specific nutrition interventions.” She added.
“We have come together to implement the multi-sectoral approach to addressing the problems of a nutritionist who can work in diverse sectors and those places mainstreaming nutrition principles to solve nutrition problems.” She added.
These nutritionists should fit across the board, fit in agriculture, education, social protection as well as water. The newly trained nutritionists will also be sensitized on how other factors affect food and nutrition security.
“The nutritionist will not only focus on clinical aspects of nutrition but a look at nutrition from a holistic approach and address both food and nutrition security.” Dr. Andang’o emphasized.
“They will be aware of food systems and how systems impact nutrition and food security” She added.
The new curriculum will also prepare the trainees for a realization that though the nation may have food, the health of the citizens may not necessarily be realized.
Through the new curriculum, the masses will be reached and taught the importance of nutrition to individual lives as well as the nation.
The curriculum drafting workshop is part of the USAID Advancing Nutrition project in enhancing local capacity for the development and realization of nutrition outcomes.
“We look forward to having an impact on nutrition not just improve the Kenyan economy but the world as a whole.” Dr. Andang’o said
The workshop sought to develop content for Bachelor Food and Nutrition Security with IT course. The participants developed a draft that defines the course’s overall aim, objectives, course description, learning outcomes, and academic content.
In preparation for the drafting workshop, the participants undertook a learning exchange visit to JKUAT, Kenya School of Agriculture, and the Ministry of Agriculture and also held three workshops to get views from various stakeholders.