Federation of African Nutrition Societies Conference

Synopsis of R4D’s participation

The fourth Federation of African Nutrition Societies (FANUS) conference took place in Kigali, Rwanda from August 26–29, 2019, with “nutrition in action for sustainable development in Africa” as its theme. Representatives from Results for Development and other NGOs, government agencies and academia convened to discuss a range of issues relating to nutrition and development.

R4D contributed to the following events:

  • Parallel Symposium: “Sustainable Financing for Nutrition in Africa: Systems Strengthening Approaches”
  • Dr. Jack Clift delivered a keynote address on the issue of financing to meet the World Health Assembly targets for Nutritio

Access the presentations here (includes downloadable files).

Symposium Recap: Sustainable Financing for Nutrition in Africa: Systems Strengthening Approaches

The symposium was sponsored by R4D with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). It focused on building systems for managing and coordinating financial resources for nutrition.

R4D’s Dr. Jack Clift began with a short presentation laying out the rationale for strengthening financial systems. With improved nutrition constituting a moral and economic imperative for government and development partners, it is critical to get “more nutrition for the money,” as well as more money for nutrition. Strengthening each component of the budget and planning cycle enables governments to use existing financial resources as effectively as possible and mobilize additional resources for nutrition. Many governments are engaged in such systems strengthening along with technical partners.

Dr. Ferew Lemma (Ethiopia Federal Ministry of Health) described the experience of systems strengthening in Ethiopia, starting with the results of Ethiopia’s first comprehensive resource tracking exercise (conducted by R4D with support from the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation), which included both “on-budget” spending (managed by government) and “off-budget” spending (NGO programs funded directly by donors). Dr. Lemma showed that nutrition-sensitive spending was on the rise but nutrition-specific appeared to have plateaued, and that distribution of resources to the different regions of Ethiopia did not appear to be in line with burden of malnutrition in exploratory analyses. He went on to describe current efforts the Government of Ethiopia is leading with support from R4D/BMGF, through which a system has been set up for routine tracking of resources from all sectors/all key partners on an annual basis.

R4D’s Ms. Kavya Ghai presented experience from Malawi in resource tracking and resource mobilization. In Q1 2019, Ms. Ghai was seconded to Malawi’s Department of Nutrition, HIV and AIDS (DNHA) through the NI-TAN program, a Nutrition International program funded by UKAID. Ms. Ghai described efforts to strengthen the Nutrition Resource Tracking System (NURTS), an online tool for gathering financial information from all nutrition-relevant government departments and development partners, as well as ongoing development of a resource mobilization strategy that focuses on leveraging existing government revenues, raising new revenues (e.g. through a sugar-sweetened beverage tax) and catalyzing efforts among the private sector with the support of the SUN Business Network.

Dr. Ella Compaore (SUN Focal Point/Ministry of Health, Burkina Faso) gave the final presentation, discussing recent efforts in Burkina Faso to comprehensively identify nutrition spending within the national budget. Findings include that nutrition spending made up 1.11% of the national budget 2016-2018, and that the ministry of health and ministry of agriculture fund the vast majority of nutrition activities, 48.8% and 27.2% respectively. Building on these analyses, there is a need to raise overall government support from nutrition towards the 3% benchmark set out at the ANEC VIII conference, hold a fundraising conference and seek innovative financing for nutrition, as well as to conduct an analysis of nutrition funding from donors that is currently “off-budget” so all efforts can be better coordinated in support of Burkina Faso’s national strategy for nutrition.

The session was attended at full venue capacity and closed with an engaging discussion. The discussion included why nutrition-specific funding was flatlining in Ethiopia, how to convince national governments to allocate more domestic resources to nutrition and how to ensure strategies for generating additional revenues for nutrition are spent on nutrition vs. being redirected to other priorities.

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