It is an exciting time to be a nutritionist in Africa – in a profession that is “IN”, working in a continent that has an opportunity to show that it can turn the negative into a positive; that it can deliver. Ke Nako. But I also have a deep-seated fear that we might only continue with the endless talk and eloquent orations of the past few years and not turn the promises and commitments into actions. This opportunity – just as we refer to the 1,000 days window of opportunity – will not come again. We in nutrition in Africa have this one opportunity to turn words into actions. At a recent meeting, I was challenged by Mrs Graça Machel not to lump Africa, especially sub-Saharan Africa, together, and to acknowledge that some countries are making good progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, while others are seriously lagging behind. The difference between those moving forward and the laggers lies in true leadership that knows, quoting the words of John Ruskin, that “What we think or what we know or what we believe is in the end of little consequence – the only consequence is what we do.”
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