Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, has said that work on the proposed National Nutrition Policy should be ready for implementation by October.
Ministern of Health, Hon Rudyard Spencer
Responding to questions from Opposition Member of Parliament for Central Kingston, Ronald Thwaites, during Wednesday’s (May 12) sitting of the House of Representatives, Mr. Spencer said work on the document is “well advanced.”
He added that the Ministry is currently in the process of drafting a policy paper for submission to Cabinet.
Mr. Spencer admitted that work on the policy was originally scheduled for completion in March, but was pushed back, consequent on developments arising from a stakeholders meeting late last year.
He said that, at the meeting with key stakeholders including the Ministry of Health’s Nutrition Unit, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries’ Policy Unit and the Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute (CFNI), in October 2009, the Ministry of Agriculture indicated that additional issues were identified for inclusion in the policy.
These are being developed, and a new projected completion date is set for October, 2010, Mr. Spencer said.
While acknowledging concerns arising that the stakeholders were “behind” in the work on the policy, he pointed out that the undertaking was “very comprehensive,” and the parties are deliberate in what they are doing in ensuring that they develop a good policy.
He gave an assurance that, once the Cabinet submission is made, the contents of the document will be brought to Parliament.
The Minister assured the House that, despite the absence of the policy, the best approaches to sound nutritional practices, particularly in the school feeding programme, are being pursued.
He also disclosed that the Ministry of Agriculture is pursuing matters relating to incorporating inputs from the local dairy and egg industries into the feeding programmes for schools and other institutions.