Policy Engagement in Cameroon

Objectives and Activities

Ultimately, we seek to influence policymakers in Cameroon and (perhaps especially) those who advise them. To be effective, the messages derived from our research activities must be useful to policy makers/advisors, i.e., they must be understandable, credible, relevant, and timely.

To this end, we developed a mechanism for bi-directional engagement in policy discussions in Cameroon, including hiring a very experienced ‘knowledge broker’, expanding our collaborative link with HKI-Cameroon, convening a policy engagement workshop to identify the institutional landscape in Cameroon as regards micronutrient policy discussions, and identify in-country collaborators from key national and other organizations who were willing and able to participate in micronutrient intervention and related policy discussions. We then identified the following entry points for policy engagement:

Created in early 2017 at the request of the Ministry of Health. Participants, the MINIMOD task force includes representatives from Ministries of Health, Trade, Agriculture, and Industry, and from many key organizations working in Cameroon on issues related to nutrition (e.g., World Bank, World Food Programme, FAO). The group meets on a monthly basis, and is synchronizing its meetings and the themes discussed to dovetail with monthly meetings of the standing committee on nutrition.

In 2016, the Government of Cameroon began to draft a new, 5-year National Nutrition Plan. The MINIMOD team provided feedback on an early draft plan, and a MINIMOD representative will be on the team of final reviewers.

In 2016, the World Bank-backed GFF drafted a set of proposed investments aiming (primarily) to reduce child and maternal mortality, with particular focus on regions in the northern part of Cameroon. The MINIMOD team has provided several rounds of comments on the GFF investment document and also interacted directly with the in-country implementing agents and the representatives from the Ministry of Health who will manage the investments.

Based on MINIMOD simulations using new data from process evaluation of the national large-scale food fortification program (cooking oil and wheat flour) conducted in mid-2016 by UC Davis (Engle-Stone), we presented a policy brief presenting the current status of the fortification program and predicted benefits of further strengthening program implementation to the Minister of Health.