The West Africa Health Organisation (WAHO) has called on its member states to finance nutrition to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2 by 2030 across the region.
The director-general WAHO, Dr. Melchior Athanase, announced this at the 17th ECOWAS Nutrition Forum in Abuja, which brought together major nutrition stakeholders to review policies, practices and progress in reducing malnutrition and diet-related diseases in the sub-region.
The theme of this year’s forum was “Leveraging Sustainable Financing for Multisectoral Approaches: Accelerate Universal Access to Nutritious, Safe, Affordable and Sustainable Diets”.
Athanase emphasised that the 2030 agenda of SDGs obliges the region to make more effort for the financing of nutrition, which must be one of the priorities of all member states. The current context of security, humanitarian, socio-economic and even climatic crises in the region, added to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, challenges the region.
According to Athanase, the forum offers the region the opportunity to free the genius creators for relevant analyses in the depths of the limits of good nutrition. This would be in perfect harmony with the pragmatic proposals expected on innovative and original financing mechanisms. Discussions would also focus on public-private partnership (PPP) approaches aimed at improving the availability and access sustainably, to diversified foods, in an approach favouring the organic trend with arduous richness in macro and micronutrients.
The meeting will strengthen multi-sectoral collaboration to improve financing and Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for nutrition. Athanase stressed that national investments are essential to enable countries to take ownership of the programs and ensure their sustainability. He also called for strong coordination of orientation and prioritization of investments for food and nutritional security with equity and justice towards the populations, for the establishment of a real ECOWAS of the peoples.
“To promote strategies for pooling our efforts, adapting our approaches to the evidence of the moment, in a word, good leadership in Nutrition. It is therefore very imperative to establish an effective and efficient mechanism for sharing experiences.
“In this context, national investments are essential to enable countries to take ownership of the programs and ensure their sustainability.
“We will also need strong coordination and orientation, and prioritisation of investments in food and nutritional security with equity and justice towards our populations, for the establishment of a real ECOWAS of the peoples,” he said.
In conclusion, the right to adequate nutrition is one of the human rights, recognized by the UN, which ECOWAS respects in this fight against malnutrition in all its forms. This forum will provide an opportunity to examine innovative multi-sectoral collaboration practices that work best in terms of the synergy of action and sustainable financing of nutrition interventions. About 250 nutrition experts from across the region are participating in the meeting.