July SgWIS event: Malnutrition – A journey from the early 1980s to today

Earlier this week, we were pleased to have Dr Regina Moench-Pfanner share her career story that began in the 1980s. Coming from a nutrition background, she worked extensively in Chad as a food aid distributor and eventually led many Red Cross emergency relief operations across Africa. Through her close interactions with at-risk locals and refugees, she carried out extensive fieldwork to study protein energy malnutrition in children and co-authored several papers highlighting nutritional deficiencies in refugee populations. She reflected poignantly about the rugged physical and mental demands that came with the turf, but went on to enlighten us about the positives that came with it too – the ability to make a difference.

Dr Regina has since played a key role in implementing staple food fortification in countries across the globe as well as overseeing many programs focusing on public health policy and food security. She highlighted nutritional challenges facing the world currently, with an obesity epidemic on the one hand and a malnutrition burden on the other. When asked about what can be done to address these, Dr Regina stressed on the need to diversify our foods to maximise nutritional benefits and not simply depend on convenience as the decision-maker. She also explained the need for changes at the institutional level, especially the inclusion of nutritional expertise as a supporting pillar for policy-making. Through her current role as CEO of ibn360, she continues to work tirelessly for her cause and hopes to drive sustainable solutions to overcome such hurdles.