Ethiopian Demographic and Health survey 2005 has reviled that 46% of under five children are stunted, while 38.4% and 10.5% are underweight and wasted respectively. The State of the world’s children published by UNICEF (2003) reports only two countries in the world have a higher rate of stunting than Ethiopia. Currently protein energy Malnutrition is also among the top three causes of under five mortality in Ethiopia, Different studies also show that micronutrient deficiencies like iron deficiency anemia, Iodine and Vitamin A deficiency are also very common in Ethiopia especially very young children and women of reproductive age.
Tackling the above mentioned problems requires expertise in the field of Human Nutrition.
Thus, School of Chemical and Food Engineering of Bahir Dar University has launched BSc program in Human Nutrition in 2012 and M.Sc program in Applied Human Nutrition in 2013. This program is offered only by Bahir Dar and Hawassa Universities. However, both curricula needed to be revised to have a standard program. For that reason, the school collaborates and works with Higher Education Network for Applied Human Nutrition between Eastern African and Europe (HENNA) project.
As a result, the School of Chemical and Food Engineering has developed this harmonized curriculum with HENNA project member institutes that will contribute to address the nutritional problems of our country.
Malnutrition is a reality for many impoverished families in East Africa. Although chronic poverty and drought contribute to malnutrition, dramatic improvements could be made by having more highly trained professionals in nutrition who can advocate nutrition from the community to the regional and federal policy levels. In most of the East African countries, especially in Ethiopia, there are only very few nutrition professionals that makes it difficult to involve nutrition as an agenda in development projects.
The project aims to promote a network of universities in East Africa that will create harmonisation of higher education programmes in applied human Nutrition in East Africa. The rationale for this is based on the belief that such an initiative will help to foster cooperation in information exchange, harmonisation of procedures and policies, focused on higher education, attainment of comparability among qualifications, and possibly the standardisation of curricula, so as to facilitate professional mobility for both employment and further study. The project also aims to increase the capacity of East African countries to contribute to enhanced nutritional practices through well developed and harmonised nutrition programmes, to promote the capacity of nutrition faculty members, to procure and upgrade required nutrition resources and to establish internet-based network communication.
HENNA participating universities
The project is implementing through close cooperation and sharing of expertise between Justus Liebig University Giesen –Centre for international development and environmental research, Ulm University, Germany, Bahir Dar University, Hawassa University and Ethiopian Health and Nutrition Research Institute (EHNRI) in Ethiopia, Egerton University, Jomo Kenyatta University and Nairobi University in Kenya as well as Makarare University in Uganda.
Goal of the project
Formation of a Nutrition Task Force from partner Institutes to facilitate and coordinate the development and harmonisation of the curriculum
Need assessment and curriculum review
Procurement and upgrading of resources
Promoting nutritional wellbeing through educational program
This curriculum is 80% harmonized, that is similar with other collaborated Universities and 20% localized, contain courses that are core only to Bahir Dar University.
The Applied Nutrition program envisage a national and international collaborative work in nutrition training, research and community nutrition education for the achievement of adequate nutrition security needed for enhancing the full genetic potential and the socioeconomic progress of the Ethiopian society.
The MSc program in Applied nutrition at the University of Bahir Dar is designed to equipment graduates to work effectively in a variety of settings such as leading nutrition training programs, working with healthcare professionals to provide nutrition counseling, conducting research relevant to the Ethiopian nutritional problems, and to provide input to regional and federal level nutrition policy decisions and incorporating emerging nutrition science knowledge base to problem-solving.
To produce specialists in human nutrition who will be able to teach, and advice policy makers with regards to the nutrition situation in Ethiopia.
To produce specialists trained to nutrition counseling at various levels to bring desired behavior changes.
To produce graduates who will tackle nutritional problems related to communities.
To enhance the capacity of undertaking research on various nutritional problems of the country.
To increase the quality of research undertaking by the academic staff.
To strengthen local, regional as well as international collaborations in nutrition training and research.