ECNAD is a project leaded by AL-Azhar University-Gaza is aiming to enhance the clinical nutrition practice in Palestine. The ECNAD consortium consists of three local higher education institutes (Al-Azhar University, Hebron University and Palestine Technical College and on one service provider; Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) and also we have three international partner’s universities from EU namely; Ruse University- RU (Bulgaria), URI-Soča (Slovenia) and WSBiNoZ (Poland).
The ECNAD project is funded by ERASMUS+ grant that targeting higher education institutes.
Good nutrition is the bedrock of human well-being. In a child’s first 1000 d from conception to the second birthday, good nutrition enables optimal brain and immune system development and functioning, which, in turn, averts death and equips a child to grow, thrive, and reach his or her full potential. Throughout the entire life cycle, good nutrition results in greater cognitive, motor, and social development, educational attainment, productivity, and lifetime earnings.
Nutrition currently enjoys a high level of attention and recognition from donors, country governments, civil society, academia, and the private sector. The number of obese individuals is alarmingly increasing, in the U.S. for example obesity has dramatically increased over the last 30 years, doubling for adults and tripling for children and ultimately contributing to chronic disease and higher medical costs. Nutritional assessment, analysis, counseling, and treatment are needed in patient care, particularly for overweight and obese patients, but educational gaps in clinically applicable nutrition-related knowledge and skills leave many health professionals without the expertise to identify and treat patients at nutrition risk.
Many reports confirmed that while the food security crisis in Palestine has abated since the heights of humanitarian emergencies of the past decade, the underlying fragility and distortions in food and nutrition security continue to pose grave risks to the social welfare of the Palestinian people, especially in the Gaza Strip, and to national economic security. While trends in food and nutrition security are troublesome across the Palestinian territory, regional disparities are even more worrisome. As many as 47% of households in the Gaza Strip are classified as food insecure, compared to 16% in the West Bank Analysis shows that all four aspects of the global definition of food security – availability, access, stability, and utilization – are relevant in the Palestinian situation.
With regards to food utilization, or nutrition, Palestinians face certain problems, with around a third of households reporting insufficient dietary quantity, and almost as many reporting poor diet quality. Overweight and obesity (over-nutrition) is a form of malnutrition that is well established in Palestinian society. Deficiencies in the intake of certain vitamins and minerals, especially among vulnerable groups such as children and pregnant and lactating women, result in serious impact on child growth as well as the overall health of the Palestinian society. While stunting and wasting are not prevalent in Palestine, micronutrient deficiency and obesity are major concerns.