Washington, D.C., July 25, 2018 (PAHO/Yale/GW) - A new course developed by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the George Washington University's Milken Institute School of Public Health, and the Yale School of Public Health, with financing from the Government of Canada, aims to improve nutrition programs in Latin America and the Caribbean and prevent malnutrition in all its forms.
The course, "Evaluation and Quality Assurance of Nutrition Programs", a mixed online/on-site course, began this month on the PAHO Virtual Campus for Public Health.
A total of 35 professionals from the Ministries of Health of Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru were selected to take part in this initial four-month training, which includes a one-week on-site workshop in Ecuador in December 2018.
"This initiative will help countries build their capacities to utilize innovative evaluation and quality assurance techniques to improve the performance of their current food and nutrition programs," said Rubén Grajeda, PAHO regional advisor on nutrition.
The selected participants are implementing nutrition programs in their own countries, as part of Integrated Health Systems in Latin America and the Caribbean, a joint PAHO/Government of Canada project to improve the health and nutrition of women, children and adolescents living in situations of vulnerability in 11 countries of the Region of the Americas.
According to the Panorama of Food and Nutrition Security in Latin America and the Caribbean 2017, there are currently 6.1 million children under the age of 5 living with chronic malnutrition in Latin America and the Caribbean, and another 3.9 million that are overweight.
Throughout the course, each country will develop a proposal for a continuous monitoring and quality assurance system for nutrition intervention, which participants will commit to implementing during the first quarter of 2019.
An innovative feature of the course is the use of Program Impact Pathway (PIP) methodology, which until now had only been applied in academic work as a frame of reference for program monitoring. PIP analyses can help identify problems in the implementation of nutrition programs, establish ways to overcome them and achieve the expected impact.
The course "introduces the PIP methodology to Latin America to better understand and evaluate their food and nutrition programs, and ultimately to improve food security for all considering the social determinants of health," said Dr. Rafael Pérez-Escamilla, professor and director of the the Global Health Program at Yale School of Public Health. "I am pleased to be a course instructor with this highly innovative course," he said.
"This program will enable participants to learn about continuous evaluation and its application to nutrition policies and programs in several countries," said Dr. Uriyoán Colón Ramos, associate professor of nutrition and global health at the George Washington University's Milken Institute School of Public Health. "Furthermore, the course will increase knowledge of the double burden of malnutrition and obesity."
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) works with the countries of the Americas to improve the health and quality of life of its population. Founded in 1902, it is the world's oldest international public health agency. It serves as the Regional Office of WHO for the Americas and is the specialized health agency of the Inter-American system.
Milken Institute School of Public Health is the only school of public health in the nation's capital. Today, more than 1,900 students from 54 U.S. states and territories and more than 50 countries pursue undergraduate, graduate and doctoral-level degrees in public health. The school also offers an online Master of Public Health, MPH@GW, and an online Executive Master of Health Administration, MHA@GW, which allow students to pursue their degree from anywhere in the world.
Founded in 1915, the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH) is among the oldest schools of public health in the country. During its history, the School has made many important health contributions, including environmental sanitation, polio and cancer and has trained thousands of researchers, practitioners, administrators and educators. YSPH attract a diverse group of international students into its MPH, MS and PhD programs and the Global Health Concentration, Public Health Modeling Concentration, Regulatory Affairs Track, or Climate Change and Health Initiative. Faculty and students bring expertise in genomics, mathematical modeling, behavioral economics and innovative technologies to the field, to address evolving public health challenges and advance health promotion in the era of globalization.
Milken Institute School of Public Health