About the speakers

Dr Francesco Branca

Dr Francesco Branca is the Director of the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development in WHO, Geneva. He graduated in Medicine and Surgery and specialized in Diabetology and Metabolic Diseases at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Roma. He obtained a PhD in Nutrition at Aberdeen University.

He was a senior scientist at the Italian Food and Nutrition Research Institute, where he was responsible for the design and implementation of several studies on the effects of food and nutrients on human health at the different stages of the life-cycle, and for the design, management and evaluation of public health nutrition programmes. He was President of the Federation of the European Nutrition Societies for 2003–2007.

Dr Carmen Casanovas

Dr Carmen Casanovas is a paediatrician who graduated from the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés and Hospital del Niño in La Paz, in her native Plurinational State of Bolivia. She also holds a Masters in Public Health from Tulane School of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, in New Orleans, USA. With over 20 years’ international experience in training, planning, monitoring and evaluation of public health programmes, Dr Casanovas has provided technical assistance in maternal and child health and nutrition, development of evidence-informed guidelines, and monitoring strategies and evaluation tools.

She is master assessor/trainer in the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, an initiative established by WHO and UNICEF to promote optimal breastfeeding practices. She has trained many health professionals on optimal breastfeeding practices in countries from all WHO regions; and has developed multiple capacity-building materials on infant and young child feeding, growth assessment, HIV/AIDS and nutrition. Dr Casanovas currently works as a technical officer in the Evidence and Programme Guidance Unit at the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development in WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

Ms Kaia Engesveen

Ms Kaia Engesveen is a technical officer at the WHO Department of Nutrition for Health and Development in the Unit for Nutrition Policy and Scientific Advice. She supports the monitoring, development and implementation of national nutrition policies and strategies, through managing nutrition policy section in the WHO Global database on the Implementation of Nutrition Action (GINA), supporting countries in scaling-up nutrition action such as undertaking the participatory Landscape Analysis country assessment of system readiness to implement and expand nutrition actions, managing the Nutrition Landscape Information System (NLIS), and being the focal point for the Nutrition-Friendly Schools Initiative.

She holds a Master of Science in nutrition from the University of Oslo. Her research focused on breastfeeding and human rights applying a role and capacity analysis, for which she was awarded the 9th Dr Abraham Horwitz lecture in 2005. Before joining WHO, she worked with the UN Standing Committee on Nutrition (SCN), the World Food Programme in Afghanistan and UNICEF in the Maldives.