Nestlé holds 2nd conference on nutrition to raise awareness on micronutrient deficiencies in Congo

To Press Releases listMay 13, 2015

Nestlé Congo today held the second edition of its annual Nutrition Conference under the theme “Micronutrient deficiencies, an unknown reality in the Democratic Republic of Congo” to raise awareness and chat on ways of combatting micronutrient deficiencies in the DRC.

This second edition of the conference comes hot on the heels of its first edition which was held in August last year in which participants deliberated on “The first 1,000 days of a child, one of the best investments for Nutrition, Health and Development.” 

“As a result of the engagement during the last year’s conference, a white paper was drafted which will be presented to the Prime Minister, Augustin Matata Ponyo. The white paper will provide a very strong step for theGovernment and other stakeholders to work hand in hand in eradicating malnutrition in DRC,” said Mr.Hervé Barrere, Directeur General,Nestlé Congo.

 According to Mr. Hervé Barrere, micronutrient deficiency is a major health issue facing DRC and Nestlé is ready to work with communities and other partners in the promotion of proper intake of nutrients in the local foods available.

“This is possible through our unmatched research & development capability, nutrition science and passion for quality in everything we do.  We have the largest research and development(R&D) network of any food company in the world with 34 R&D facilities and over 5,000 people involved,” he said.

According to the World HealthOrganisation (WHO), the lack of proper nutrients leading to micronutrient deficiency has mostly affected pre-school children, school-age children, and women of child-bearing age. The immediate causes of malnutrition among the affected groups include lack of a balanced diet in pregnancy and inadequate intake of proper nutrients in food for infants and young children.

“I thank Nestlé Congo for this noble partnership of the nutrition conference. Micronutrient deficiency is not unique to DRC, but it’s a global phenomenon which can interfere with the well-being and intellectual ability of our children. Therefore, concerted effort between the government and the private sector is welcome to ensure we bring forth a healthy and strong generation,” said Honourable Professor Mashako Mambo, a member of Parliament in DRC.

Mr. Hervé Barrere said that Nestlé Congo was in the process of formulating a strategy on working with local governments and health authorities to identify widespread nutritional ‘gaps’ in diets. “We are focusing on the fortification of popular foods such as bouillon cubes to help prevent micronutrient deficiencies.”

He also mentioned that Nestlé was also working on diversifying its products in order to include fortified foods that are affordable, as well as educating its consumers of the benefits of combining them with locally sourced ingredients.

“We have embarked on various initiatives across DRC to help address and combat micronutrient deficiencies.  This include our HealthyKids Programme that focuses on nutrition education for children ages 6 – 12years; MAGGI women’s forum where we give nutrition expertise and healthy eating tips; media workshop where we discuss and engage with the media; and the fortification of our products,” explained Mr. Hervé Barrere.

According to Mr. Hervé Barrere,Nestle Congo has also started creating awareness with a wider audience on proper eating habits through a TV cooking show, scenettes and such workshops.

“As you can see, we are moving beyond the boundaries of our company and are seeking partnerships with government and civil society to eradicate micronutrient deficiencies. We believe that through such collaborations, we can achieve more,” Mr. Hervé Barrere concluded.