The Center for Food and Adequate Living Rights collaborated with the Uganda Parliamentary Alliance on Food and Nutrition Security to organize the Parliamentary Nutrition Week that took place between 14th to 17th March 2022 at Parliament. The Uganda Parliamentary Nutrition Week was a follow up activity to the training held with the Members of Parliament (MPs) on using the law and the right to adequate food to address the Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) challenge in Uganda. Following this training, the MPs of the Uganda Parliamentary Alliance on Food and Nutrition requested CEFROHT’s support in conducting a Parliamentary Nutrition Week to create further awareness for legislators on using the law to address NCDs. It is upon this background that CEFROHT held a Parliamentary Nutrition Week to sensitize MPs on their role in promoting regulatory and fiscal measures for promoting healthy diets and physical activity to prevent NCDs in Uganda under the theme “Utilizing legal tools to promote healthy diets and prevent Non-Communicable Diseases”.
The week did not only target Parliamentarians, but it also brought together relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies as well as other key stakeholders particularly media, CSOs, academia and members from community to broaden cross-sectoral knowledge sharing and advocacy for the role of law in promoting healthy diets and physical activity for preventing NCDs. Some of the participants included representatives from Ministry of health (MOH), Ministry of Education and Sports (MOE&S), Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) and Office of the Prime Minister. Among the highlights was the press conference on day one which was used to address the nation about the week’s activities and its purpose.
During the week, different sessions covering one RECAP policy area per day were discussed in which multi-stakeholders engaged under RECAP sensitized MPs on the legal and regulatory measures related to the specific policy area of the day as well as on the MPs role in promoting legal and regulatory frameworks for healthy diets and physical activity to address the challenge of diet-related NCDs.This week also served to assess parliamentarians’ needs for capacity building on legal and regulatory frameworks for healthy diets and physical activity promotion. A principal investigator with two research assistants were involved in the week for this purpose. After the presentations, there was room for plenary discussions from which action points were developed to be followed-up by both CEFROHT and the parliamentarians through their commitments. On each day after the presentations but before the plenary discussions, Mr.Robert Ssebugwawo, a Fitness and Preventive Health Expert of the Parliament of Uganda, took the MPs and other participants through a short physical activity session.
The first day was dedicated to the priority area of nutrition labelling, the second day to Restriction of marketing of unhealthy foods to children , the third to SSB tax and finally physical activity on the fourth day. Presentations were delivered from selected stakeholders including among others; the Ministry of Health, World Health Organization, Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Agriculture, Uganda National Bureau of Standards and CSOs..
At the end of week, a commitment was signed by the MPs to actively use their powers to advocate for reforms towards creating a healthy food environment. It also resulted in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between CEFROHT and the UPA-FNS. The Chairperson of the alliance Hon. Milton Muwuma signed on behalf of the alliance while Mr. Kabanda David, the Executive Director signed for CEFROHT.