The Nutrition Unit is the department in the Ministry of Health and the Environment with responsibility for the development and monitoring of standards and guidelines in nutrition and dietetics; the provision of nutrition and dietetic service; the coordination of the nutrition component of health programmes; and the provision of nutrition training and education.
The Unit is also the lead agency for coordination of the Food and Nutrition Priority Area of the Caribbean Cooperation in Health Initiative and it’s philosophy, is outlined below:
We believe that: -
- Access to adequate safe and nutritious food, sound nutrition practices and an active lifestyle are essential for optimal nutritional status, the promotion and maintenance of good health and sustainable human and economic development; and that they are critical factors in the prevention and control of disease and the recovery and rehabilitation from illness and injury.
- Nutritional status refers to that condition of health, which reflects the degree to which individuals, families and communities use food to meet their physiological need for energy and nutrients.
- Individuals, families and communities should be empowered to promote household food and nutrition security; initiate the identification and solution of their nutrition problems and should have equal access to quality nutrition care in both the community and hospital settings.
- Public Health Nutrition includes all the services needed to apply the scientific principles of nutrition and public health to the identification and solution of nutrition-related health problems in individuals, families andcommunities. It is a dynamic process involving the screening and assessment of nutritional needs; and the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policy and programme interventions to promote food and nutrition security and to prevent and manage nutrition problems in specific population groups.
- Clinical Dietetics (nutrition care) includes all the services needed to apply the principles of nutrition and medical nutrition therapy to the management of medical conditions and the prevention of institution-induced malnutrition in individuals. It is a dynamic process involving the screening and assessment of patients; and the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of nutrition care plans (normal and therapeutic diets, nutrition support, counselling, behaviour modification, education, follow-up and referral) on patient outcomes.
- Administrative Dietetics includes all the services required to apply the principles of foodservice management to the achievement of clinical nutrition care objectives. Foodservice should meet set quality standards in the subsystems of menu planning and forecasting; procurement, inventory and cost control; production, distribution and service; safety and sanitation; facility layout and design; and preventive maintenance.
- Coordination between Public Health Nutrition and Hospital Dietetic Services are essential for continuity of care and quality nutrition and dietetic service in all settings.
The Nutritionist/Dietitian is the authority on the health team with primary responsibility for the nutrition care of individuals, families and communities and, like all other nutrition and dietetic personnel, should meet the academic, experiential and continuing education requirements established by the Ministry in accordance with Caribbean and International standards.