September 11, 2008 - 12:00pm to September 12, 2008 - 8:00pm


Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Columbia University's Institute of Human Nutrition (IHN) convened this meeting to explore ways to improve the effectiveness of current nutrition and food aid programming which target undernutrition in high-burden regions. At a time of rising food prices and food insecurity, the need to scale up efforts to prevent the deaths, illnesses and disabilities caused by malnutrition every year is even more urgent.

The meeting brought together leading experts, policy makers, and national and international implementers to examine the nutritional deficits of food aid and why current nutrition programs and recommended strategies have limited impact on undernutrition in food insecure populations.

Presentations and working groups explored successful strategies to address deficits in the complementary diets of children living in food insecure populations, including the role of food supplements, the composition and targeting of supplements, as well as complementary strategies to optimize nutritional outcomes.

Presentations & Working Groups

Available below to download.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Alumni Auditorium, Columbia University, 168th Street Campus.

Welcome Remarks and Keynote Address

  • Welcoming Address
    Dr. Richard Deckelbaum, Director, IHN, Columbia University
    Symposium Goals
    Dr. Christophe Fournier, President of MSF’s International Council
  • Preliminary Address
    Biraj Patnaik, Principle Advisor, Office of the Commissioners to India’s Supreme Court, “The Right to Food and Nutrition”
  • Keynote Address
    Stephen Lewis, Co-Director of AIDS-Free World, “Mobilizing Political Will to Address the Crisis of Undernutrition”
Session 1

Meeting the Nutritional Needs of Developing Children in High-Burden Regions

Session 2

Effective Nutrition Strategies for High-burden Regions

Session 3

Nutrition and Food Aid Policy – Achieving Improved Outcomes

The afternoon session will consist of a high-level panel discussion on implementing policy reforms to reverse undernutrition in high-burden areas, and strategies to improve the effectiveness of international food aid and nutrition programs targeting undernutrition. This will include examination of the role of direct food-based interventions for successful nutrition programming in food-insecure areas.

  • Introduction by Chair
    Patrick Webb, Tufts University
  • Global strategy and resource estimates for effective nutrition policy
    Werner Schultink, Chief, Nutrition Section, UNICEF
    Ian Darnton-Hill, Senior Advisor on Nutrition, UNICEF
  • Reformulating nutrition and food aid programming to better target undernutrition
    A Moderated Panel Discussion:
    Patrick Webb, Chair
    Meera Shekar, Lead Health and Nutrition Specialist, World Bank
    Hon. Nimal Siripala De Silva, Minister of Health and Nutrition, Sri Lanka

        (with technical presentation by Dr. H.A.P. Kahandaliyange, Secretary of Health, Sri Lanka)
    Dr. Jean-Hervé Bradol, Research Director and Former President of MSF-France
    Dr. Martin Bloem, Chief of Nutrition, World Food Program

        (with technical presentation by Saskia de Pee, Nutritionist, World Food Program)
    Francesco Branca, World Health Organization
  • Day One Recap
    Dr. Steve Collins, Valid International
    Nicolas de Torrente, Executive Director, MSF-USA
Friday, September 12, 2008

Alfred Lerner Hall, Columbia University, 116th Street Campus.

Keynote Address

  • Ann Veneman, Executive Director, UNICEF, "Finding practical solutions to treating and preventing malnutrition worldwide."
Working Group 1

Reformulating food aid for improved nutrition

This session will explore ways to overcome barriers to change faced by implementers, national groups, funding agencies and multilateral organizations, including regional managers of programs. How can we ensure that international food aid targets the nutritional needs of young children, especially in high-burden countries? What will be the cost if we do nothing?

Start-up Presentation

  • Dan Maxwell, Tufts University
    Reforming food aid for effectiveness and efficiency to better meet recipient needs. What are the program quality and policy impediments, particularly in terms of US food aid? What are the major concerns with regard to coverage and timeliness? How can we better analyze capacity and response effectiveness? What flexibilities are needed for short-term and long-term conditions?
Working Group 2

Ready-to-use food supplements – scaling-up safely and effectively

With the development of lipid-based spreads for the treatment of severe acute malnutrition in resource-limited settings, there is interest in their use at early stages of malnutrition and to promote healthy growth and development in food insecure populations. This session will examine ways to optimize the safety and effectiveness of supplements in high-burden regions.

Start-up Presentations

Working Group 3

RUF supplements – local production, quality assurance, distribution

This group will examine challenges in the scale-up of ready-to-use therapeutic and supplemental food (RUF), particularly how local and regional production models can be supported while still addressing product affordability, responsiveness of supply, as well as issues related to RUF patent rights.

Start-up Presentations


Closing Remarks

  • Dr. Richard Deckelbaum, Director, IHN, Columbia University
    Dr. Tido von Schoen-Angerer, Executive Director, Access to Essential Medicines Campaign

Columbia University

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