Sudan concludes two-day workshop with SUN Movement to advance national nutrition plan
With the completion of a two-day national workshop to prioritize nutrition interventions, Sudan has passed a key milestone in its efforts to develop its National Multisectoral Nutrition Plan 2023–2027.
The workshop, which took place in Khartoum on 13 and 14 December, was organized by the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement and funded by the Federal Ministry of Health. The event brought together 105 technical experts from government ministries, United Nations agencies, research organizations, academia, donor groups, the private sector and non-governmental organizations.
In her opening remarks, on behalf of the Minister of the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Abda Hakim, the Planning and Policy Director General of Sudan said that the country has an unacceptably high level of malnutrition. She reiterated the importance of working across sectors to drive nutrition impacts and emphasized the need for robust frontline health and agriculture delivery structures in the Sudanese effort to strengthen universal health coverage. She also reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to ending all forms of malnutrition and providing support in mainstreaming nutrition in the national development agenda.
Mrs. Najlaa Khidir, the SUN Focal Point, highlighted the high burden of malnutrition in Sudan, with 16 of 18 states having critical levels of stunting, with a prevalence greater than 30 per cent. The country also has high levels of anaemia among women of reproductive age, with a national prevalence of 36.8 per cent. Such high levels of malnutrition have strong negative impacts on the cognitive and physical development of children – with consequent impacts on productivity and overall health later in life – and on the country’s economic development.
Malnutrition costs Sudan at least 2.6 per cent of its gross domestic product every year, according to the 2019 Cost of Hunger Study in Sudan, she said, and nutrition is a cost-effective investment with high returns that must be prioritized.
Mr. Alem Hadera Abay, Senior SUN Adviser, said that Sudan is off track on every World Health Assembly nutrition target but exclusive breastfeeding. However, he underlined the need to scale evidence-based, high-impact nutrition interventions and to prioritize cost-effective and acceptable interventions that focus on high-burden areas and target windows of opportunity for strong nutrition impacts.
On the second day of the workshop, working groups focused on various aspects of nutrition in Sudan reviewed, modified and agreed upon the proposed goals, strategic objectives and results areas for the national nutrition plan. Rich discussions across multiple sectors were undertaken to identify priority nutrition interventions in each strategic objective:
- Strengthen governance and create an enabling environment for multisectoral nutrition.
- Scale up high-impact and evidence-based nutrition-specific interventions.
- Strengthen humanitarian multisectoral nutrition responses.
- Strengthen nutrition-sensitive interventions and streamline nutrition across relevant systems.
The workshop was adjourned after presentations of the group work and reflections on the major topics brought by the working groups. SUN Movement representatives shared their appreciation of the active participation and good collaboration demonstrated during the event and shared goals for the next steps in the finalization of the Sudanese National Multisectoral Nutrition Plan 2023–2027.