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Hajeebhoy N.,FHI 360 Alive and Thrive Project | Nguyen P.H.,International Food Policy Research Institute | Tran D.T.,National Institute of Nutrition | de Onis M.,World Health Organization
Maternal and Child Nutrition

A comprehensive set of infant and young child feeding (IYCF) indicators for international use was published in 2008. We describe the process followed to incorporate these indicators into Vietnam's National Nutrition Surveillance System (NNSS). Following its establishment in 1980, the National Institute of Nutrition introduced the Vietnam NNSS to provide an evidence base for nutrition interventions. While anthropometric indicators based on international standards were regularly used for programme purposes, data on IYCF could not be collected with similar rigor until 2010. In 2009, with support from Alive & Thrive and UNICEF, the NNSS questionnaire was reviewed and additional content incorporated to measure IYCF practices. The tool was pilot-tested in 10 provinces and revised before nationwide roll-out in 2010.The tool comprises four pages, the first three of which focus on collecting data relating to maternal nutrition and IYCF. The last page is flexibly designed to incorporate planners' data requests for other relevant activities (e.g. mass media interventions, food security). Once analysed, the data are presented in a report comprising provincial profiles and maps illustrating IYCF practices. Importantly, the IYCF data have been used for policy advocacy (e.g. maternity leave legislation, advertisement law), programme planning, trend monitoring and capacity building. Adoption of the IYCF indicators was successful due to strategic timing, a phased approach, buy-in from stakeholders and capacity building at all levels to ensure the quality and use of data. Further revisions to the NNSS (e.g. sampling methodology, quality assurance systems) will be important to ensure the reliability of indicators. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Source

Pelletier D.,Cornell University | Haider R.,Training and Assistance for Health and Nutrition TAHN Foundation | Hajeebhoy N.,FHI 360 Alive and Thrive Project | Mwadime R.,FHI 360 Alive and Thrive Project | Sarkar S.,Independent Consultant
Maternal and Child Nutrition

Advocacy represents an intervention into complex, dynamic and highly contextual socio-political systems, in which strategies and tactics must be adjusted on a continual basis in light of rapidly changing conditions, reactions from actors and feedback. For this reason, the practice of advocacy is often considered more art than science. However, capacities and practices for advocacy can be strengthened by sharing and analysing experiences in varying contexts, deriving general principles and learning to adapt these principles to new contexts. Nutrition is a particular context for advocacy, but to date, there has been little systematic analysis of experiences. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate and draw lessons from the practice of nutrition advocacy, especially in relation to stunting and complementary feeding, and suggest ways to strengthen capacities and practices in the future. The strategies and tactics, achievements and lessons learnt are described for three case studies: Uganda, Vietnam and Bangladesh. These cases, and experience from elsewhere, demonstrate that concerted, well-planned and well-implemented advocacy can bring significant achievements, even in short period of time. In light of the global and national attention being given to stunting reduction through the SUN (Scaling Up Nutrition) movement and other initiatives, there is now a need for much stronger investments in strategic and operational capacities for advocacy, including the human, organisational and financial resources for the advocacy and strategic communication themselves, as well as for monitoring and evaluation, supportive research and institutional capacity-building. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Source

Del Carmen Casanovas M.,World Health Organization | Mangasaryan N.,Gender and Life Course | Mwadime R.,Infant and Young Child Nutrition | Hajeebhoy N.,FHI 360 Alive and Thrive Project | And 6 more authors.
Maternal and Child Nutrition

The risk of stunted growth and development is affected by the context in which a child is born and grows. This includes such interdependent influences as the political economy, health and health care, education, society and culture, agriculture and food systems, water and sanitation, and the environment. Here, we briefly review how factors linked with the key sectors can contribute to healthy growth and reduced childhood stunting. Emphasis is placed on the role of agriculture/food security, especially family farming; education, particularly of girls and women; water, sanitation, and hygiene and their integration in stunting reduction strategies; social protection including cash transfers, bearing in mind that success in this regard is linked to reducing the gap between rich and poor; economic investment in stunting reduction including the work with the for-profit commercial sector balancing risks linked to marketing foods that can displace affordable and more sustainable alternatives; health with emphasis on implementing comprehensive and effective health care interventions and building the capacity of health care providers. We complete the review with examples of national and subnational multi-sectoral interventions that illustrate how critical it is for sectors to work together to reduce stunting. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Source

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