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Health Minister launches My Kana Garden App

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Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete, Hon Minister for Health & Medical Services while launching the My Kana app at the Holiday Inn in Suva.

The My Kana Garden App developed by The University of the South Pacific (USP) was launched by Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete, Honourable Minister for Health and Medical Services at the Holiday Inn in Suva on 27 January 2020.

While launching the app, Hon Waqainabete said Fiji faces a number of challenges in public health and a critical one is food and nutrition security.

“Core to addressing this definitively is an integrated solution which entails working together with our partner organisation including Government ministries, civil society, private sector, faith-based organisations and international and regional agencies,” he said.

Hon Waqainabete said food and nutrition security is essential for sustainable and inclusive development as they are both preconditions for, and an outcome of development.

Professor Jito Vanualailai, USP’s Acting DVC Education while delivering his closing address at the launch of the My Kana app.

“National food and nutrition security is also an indicator of whether development is really inclusive and sustainable; whether our population is resilient to the effects of climate change and natural disasters; and whether research in health and agriculture has actually helped us to improve the lives and livelihood of our vulnerable population,” he noted.

He noted that the beauty of My Kana app is that it is based on our region’s database, the Pacific Islands Food Composition Tables and our very own Fiji Shop Survey.

“Further the app has a visual representation of the three food groups on the My Healthy plate recommended options. There is offline access to the My Kana app as users will be able to use the app once installed without the need for internet access,” he added.

Professor Jito Vanualailai acknowledged the team for their innovation and all the stakeholders for their support saying he was proud of their achievement, and was happy he played some role as the former Director of Research in supporting the research. He added that the University supports such research that benefits the Pacific Island Countries.

Some users who were also present testified that the app has helped their families save money and they are now more keen to plant their own vegetables for consumption.

The My Kana app was first launched in 2017 as a food and nutrition app as part of USP’s Strategic Research Theme grant, a collaborative outcome between the University and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

In December 2018, the My Kana team put in a bid to compete at the Pacific Agrihack Lab event, organised by The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) in Tonga, as part of the Innov4AgPacific project.

They proposed an extension to the app, the addition of a home gardening component where people will have access to basic home gardening instructions at their fingertips.

Users of the My Kana app with members of the My Kana app team following the launch at the Holiday Inn in Suva.

Two team members, Dr Irene Yee Chief and Ateca Kama presented the bid and were awarded a 5000 Euro grant by CTA to develop the Home Gardening component.

The home gardening content was sourced from the existing Grow your own food publication by the National Food and Nutrition Centre (NFNC) and encourages organic gardening practices and gives instruction on how to start a home garden.

The My Kana app is a FREE app, available on Google Play Store and is used by NFNC to promote healthy diets and encourage people in Fiji to plant their own vegetables and fruits.

About 85 per cent Fijians are not eating enough vegetables and fruits daily, contributing heavily to the increase in Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in Fiji.

Growing your own food gives you fresh and nutritious food that are free from chemicals. It can help save money and it is a great outdoor activity for the family. Consequently, this should combat the increase in NCDs.

The launch of this Home Gardening component was made possible through CTA’s funding and guidance through their consultant Brendan O’Connell.

My Kana mobile app continues to provide the opportunity for USP’s Centre for Flexible Learning (CFL) and the NFNC to collaborate in USP’s Strategic Research Theme of Human Capacity Building and Leadership. Furthermore, it provides an opportunity for the team to work towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals 2 (Zero Hunger) and 3 (Good Health and Well-Being). 

The project team includes USP staff Dr. Yee Chief, Instructional Designer; Rajneel Totaram, Learning Systems Developer; Mojito Jione, Learning Experience Designer and the late Fulori Sarai, Assistant Lecturer, School of Education; and NFNC staff Ateca Kama, Manager NFNC; Alvina Deo, Senior Nutritionist; Asaeli Naika, Nutritionist; Jowalesi Taukei, Food & Nutrition Project Officer, NFNC and Alvin Kumar, Food Security Officer, NFNC.
 


This news item was published on 28 Jan 2020 02:56:43 pm. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email communications@usp.ac.fj


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