On the 16th and 17th February, I participated in a training on legal and policy strategies for NCDs prevention through promotion of healthy diets. The training which was facilitated by Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues Network (KELIN), with the support from International Development Law Organization (IDLO) brought together health professionals and representative of NCDs focused organization. The training was structured as a two-day event at Nairobi Safari Club with a particular focus in using participatory multi-sectoral approach to promote healthy diets through health policy dialogues. In keeping with the understanding that unhealthy diet is one of the risk factors for NCDs, the training was tailored to promote the consumption of healthy diets through disruptive interventions, specifically nutritional labelling and restrictions on marketing of unhealthy foods to children.
Globally, over 15 million people between the ages of 30 and 69 die every year from Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and 85% of these deaths are in low-and- middle-income countries where a majority of the world’s population live. The World Health Organization (WHO) notes that governments have a central role in creating an enabling environment to promote healthy diets. Some of the proposed actions to policy-makers to create a healthy food environment include the following: (i) creating coherence in national policies and investment plans – including trade, food and agricultural policies to include public health objectives; (ii) adopting fiscal / economic incentives or disincentives (e.g. taxation and subsidies) which can contribute to the promotion of healthy diets; (iii) encouraging consumer demand for healthier foods and meals (e.g. through restricting marketing of ultra-processed and poorly nutritious food to children, supporting point-of-sale information and nutrition labelling measures that ensure accurate, standardized and comprehensible information on nutrient contents in foods); and (iv) promoting appropriate infant and young child feeding practices (WHO, Healthy diet Fact Sheet, 2020).
This training expanded my knowledge on the use of Human Rights Based Approach in NCDs prevention. On my individual capacity I am looking forward to promote this approach in my advocacy endeavors. As an organization (Stowelink), we will incorporate this approach in our programmes to ensure greater impact in dealing with NCDs.