Within this project, Village Health Action (VHA) is organizing a multistakeholder engagement to advocate for and draft a policy to eliminate Trans fats in Burundi, with the help of Resolve to Save Lives (RTSL). Policy development and implementation include policy mapping, stakeholder analysis, and policy design. Stakeholders are individuals who may be affected by the policy or play a role in its development or implementation. Furthermore, VHA provides technical assistance to the Ministry of Health and AIDS Control in developing an evidence-based policy that incorporates the two best-practice policy models. Finally, in addition to policy development, VHA is to hold awareness-raising activities to promote it and raise awareness about the harms of trans-fat on human health and encourage people to reduce their consumption.
The overall objective is to contribute to the development of a trans-fat policy in Burundi that incorporates the two best practice models for trans-fat elimination.
The specific goals are:
- Support policymakers to design evidence-based policies
- Elevate trans-fat as a public health priority, and generate public and policymaker support through communication and community mobilizations.
The project began on September 1st, 2021 for six months. VHA has gathered stories of people affected by Trans fats and posted them online to increase advocacy because communication is critical for changing attitudes, beliefs, and practices. The voices of those most affected by Trans fats must be central to the narrative, in their own words. In addition, VHA has scheduled in-person meetings to reach out to stakeholders and further explain the TFA policy.
Furthermore, on January 13th, 2022, the VHA hosted a multistakeholder forum bringing together 32 stakeholders from various sectors. These have included the Directorate General for Health and AIDS, the Directorate-General for Health Care, Modern and Traditional Medicine, Food and Accreditation, the Directorate of the Burundi National Integrated Programme for the Control of Chronic Noncommunicable Diseases, hospitals (the Kinindo Medical and Surgical Centre, Bujumbura), the National Integrated Food and Nutrition Programme (PRONIANUT), the Director of Industrial Property at the Ministry of Trade, the Burundian Consumers’ Association, BBN: Burundian Bureau of Normalization, ABREMA : Burundian Regulatory Authority for Medicines for Human Use and Food, CNTA : National Centre for Food Technology.
The forum was a success and attendee made the following recommendations:
- There should be a national trans-fat awareness campaign because many people are unaware of it. It is critical to step up efforts to educate the public about the dangers of Trans fatty acids.
- Conduct research to identify the content of foods suspected of containing Trans fats.
- Work with the food industry to educate them on the importance of certification, as most are not.
- Train the media and work on a documentary that will include stories of people affected by the harms of trans-fatty acids
- Share the TFA policy with the many stakeholders so that they can review and provide their input
- Continue to advocate for a separate TFA policy.
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