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The inaugural parliamentary nutrition week.

The Center for Food and Adequate Living Rights collaborates with the Uganda Parliamentary Alliance on Food and Nutrition Security to organize the Parliamentary Nutrition Week that takes place every year at Parliament. The Uganda Parliamentary Nutrition Week is a follow up activity to the training held with the Members of Parliament (MPs) in 2022 on using the law and the right to adequate food to address the Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) challenge in Uganda. Following this training, the members of parliament (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 does not only target Parliamentarians, but it also brings 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 include 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 are the press conferences on the first day which is 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 are discussed in which multi-stakeholders engage under RECAP sensitizing MPs on the legal and regulatory measures related to the specific policy area of the day as well as on the MP’s role in promoting legal and regulatory frameworks for healthy diets and physical activity to address the challenge of diet-related NCDs. This week also serves to assess parliamentarians’ needs for capacity building on legal and regulatory frameworks for healthy diets and physical activity promotion. A principal investigator with research assistants area always involved in the week for this purpose. After the presentations, there is room for plenary discussions from which action points are 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, a Fitness and Preventive Health Expert of the Parliament of Uganda, takes the MPs and other participants through a physical activity session.

The first day is dedicated to the priority area of nutrition labelling, the second day to Restriction of marketing of unhealthy foods to children, the third to sugar sweetened beverages tax and finally physical activity on the fourth day.  Presentations are 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.