NUTRITION IN ETHIOPIA – TIME FOR A SHIFT IN PERSPECTIVE

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Dr Nolawiheir H. Tickheir is from Ethiopia, a country in East Africa where patients are usually provided with blanket advice on what foods to eat and what should be avoided depending on their disease diagnosis. This is common in public medical practice, as well as in more expensive private practice specialty clinics and hospitals. Dr Nolawiheir states that from his personal and professional experience when it comes to nutrition, Ethiopia is very limited and at times ill-informed, usually based on fad concepts and generalized information gathered from cultural influences and social media. “Most medical practices focus primarily on the prescription of medication and adherence and little emphasis is given to nutrition.”

He reached out to Nutrition Network (NN) to apply for a scholarship for our original, flagship training​, Professional Training in LCHF/Keto Nutrition & Treatment, which is one of our foundational courses for those just getting started with learning about the diet and its therapeutic uses​. Scholarships are awarded to nutrition enthusiasts who are yearning to make a difference in underserved communities through nutrition education programs and community support. Find out more here. Dr Nolawiheir came across our training after watching the documentary film titled ‘Fat Fiction’ on YouTube and contacted NN with a request to facilitate his training. 

“I was well over a year into my personal journey of success in finally defeating my lifelong battle with obesity through a low-carb approach after two decades of futile struggle. Taking the training I was astonished and excited about the level of detail and research that had gone into it. My passion to learn more was ignited. I was also reassured to know that there many other professionals on the same continent I am in that are practicing this approach and that I was not alone. It made my decision to graduate my personal coaching tailored for a few patients to a full-fledged practice that will incorporate a multidisciplinary approach and reach a large patient population. In short, it gave me a life mission: as this problem is also personal to me as both my parents are diabetic and hypertensive.” – Dr Nolawiheir. 

He believes that the main difficulty with implementing an LCHF dietary intervention is the pervasive ‘common sense knowledge’ regarding eating fats and increasing the blood cholesterol levels and risk of heart disease which is a prevalent belief not only among the patient population but also healthcare providers as well. 

The way forward, Dr Nolawiheir suggests, is primarily the education of everyone and especially those at-risk patient populations, and the necessity of involving immediate family members for added support in their therapeutic intervention. Another tool for success is a comprehensive and multi-pronged approach that addresses the medical, psycho-social, and behavioral challenges that may be faced while changing diets that will make sure patients are supported socially, psychologically as well as medically.

“As the paradigm shift required at the government and public health policy level will require a long time to gather the necessary research evidence and also a voting majority backing the pragmatic approach is to start from individuals and gather momentum one person at a time.” – Dr Nolawiheir. 

The NN offers scholarship opportunities to carefully selected individuals who are committed to making a change to the health of their communities. Follow this link to find out more.

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