The Scaling Up Nutrition Academia Network has been established in Nigeria. It was established at a 3-day workshop in Abuja convened by SUN focal point for Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Health with support from CS-SUNN and other nutrition partners in Nigeria.
The workshop was aimed at establishing a secretariat and financing options for the SUN Academia Network, deliberating and finalizing strategies and action plan of the network, its advocacy, communication and sustainability plans and identifying the roles of the academia in supporting the SUN movement.
The event witnessed the election of the care-taker committee for the SUN Academia Network comprising a Nine (9) member committee, a National Coordinator, six representatives (6) from each geopolitical zone, one (1) representative each from a polytechnic and research institute as well as institutional Coordinators. The elected officers are representatives from University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID)-North East, University Kano (BUK)-North West, University of Abuja (UNI Abuja)- North Central, Obafemi Awolowo University-South West, University of Calabar (UNICAL)-South-South, Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Ikwo, (FUNAI)-South East, Kaduna Polytechnic and the National Root Crops Research Institute, (NRCRI) Umudike).
In a presentation, CS-SUNN Executive Secretary, Beatrice Eluaka provided an overview of the malnutrition burden in Nigeria and called for prompt action by stakeholders to mitigate the challenge. She highlighted the causes of malnutrition, the impact of undernutrition, challenges to implementing nutrition interventions in Nigeria, and the framework of actions to attaining optimal fetal, child nutrition, and development. Also, in a presentation Dr. Omotola Bamidele of Nutrition International, spoke on current efforts at addressing malnutrition in Nigeria. He highlighted the framework of Nigeria intervention efforts, current efforts, NSPAN focus, and priority areas, as well as a focus of the ANRIN project.
Other presentations were on the Sustainable Development Goals and global nutrition targets by Prof. Rabiu Umar of Usman Danfodio University Sokoto, the SUN Movement by Dominic Elue of the FMOH (SUN secretariat) and the role of academia in supporting the process of scaling up nutrition in Nigeria by Prof Amigo of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria.
Plenary sessions and group discussions on drafting the strategy and action plan for the SUN Academia Network facilitated by Aliyu Hassan of the Kaduna State Polytechnic gave birth to eight (8) priority areas for the network. They include; Situation analysis, Training, Research, Strengthening of the nutrition information system, Partnership, Policy dialogue, Media and publicity, Monitoring and Evaluation.
Participants were drawn from twenty-one (21) Academic Institutions and ten (10) Civil Society Organizations in Nigeria. Some of the participants were Dr. Bartholomew Brai of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Dr. Oko-Isu of Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Professor Beatrice Ogunba of the Obafemi University Ile-Ife, Dr. Mary Mgbekem of the University of Calabar were among participants. Others were; Dr. Binyerem Ukaire of the Federal Ministry of Health and Dr. Nwaogu of the National Root Crops Research Institute among others.