The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations in Collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) hosted a multi-sectoral stakeholder workshop for the development of training plans which will ensure the successful implementation of Food-Based Dietary Guidelines (FBDGs) in Guyana.
The two-day Trainer-of-Trainers’ workshop which opened on February 13, at the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD) will focus on how stakeholders can use FBDG nutrition education and materials to foster healthier choices and eating behaviours.
The MOPH’s consultant for this training, Jamaican, Dr. Pauline Samuda noted that FBDGs need to be adopted by every agency in Guyana, making it an original document catering to the specified needs and requirements as it relates to healthy eating and food choices.
“(This) is a strategy to ensure that the Food-Based Dietary Guidelines form part of the wider health promotion and disease prevention plans for the country. So, all agencies and organisations that are involved in the promotion of disease prevention, the FBDG should be a part of their plan and not just a part of the plan for the Ministry of Public Health,” Dr. Samuda said.
By extension, FAO’s assistant representative for administration, Dhanrajie Madray pointed out that these guidelines should be Guyana’s blueprint for attaining food and nutrition security.
Madray explained that “smart partnerships are essential if we have to address the current food and nutrition security challenges … We have to work together to educate, promote, create awareness, establish policies, legislation that are systematic approaches to enhance healthy eating and appropriate lifestyles that are conducive to health and to reduce on the public purse and more so the burdens on families.”
National FBDGs is an important tool that converts scientific information on nutritional requirements and food composition into a simple population-based language. These guidelines provide technical advice about ways to improve diets and health in a manner that is easy for the public to understand.
These guidelines ar e developed for the attainment of a generally healthy population and can be used by healthcare providers, policymakers, community leaders, educators and the public at large. They also correlate with MoPH’s health vision 2020, which seeks to have all persons in Guyana be among the healthiest in the Caribbean by 2020.
The FBDGs for Guyana were developed in 2002 and later revised in 2017 to meet a number of population objectives including the need for the promotion of increased physical activity and healthy eating choices pertaining to variety, quantity and quality of food.
Other objectives include the need to prevent the development of nutritional deficiencies while also preventing overweight and obesity and reducing the occurrence of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD).
Director of the Chronic Diseases Unit of the MoPH, Dr. Kavita Singh noted that the hosting of this workshop is a timely one as it is engaging stakeholders from all sectors who will facilitate the implementation of the revised FBDGs. This, she added, could be the first step towards preventative measures against Non-Communicable Diseases.
“The Food-Based Dietary Guidelines will be one of those cost-effective interventions that will be actually implemented as it relates to preventative methods against NCDs.” Dr. Singh said.
By: Delicia Haynes
Image: Some of the stakeholders in attendance at the workshop.