Evidence-based tools for decision-making in nutrition programs: A workshop to support adoption and utilization

Overview

On April 27-28th, 2017, the Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science (SINS), in collaboration with the Micronutrient Forum (MNF), hosted a workshop at the New York Academy of Sciences in New York City to examine the role, contributions, effectiveness and limitations of the suite of tools currently being used to support decision-making and policy-development for nutrition initiatives.

Background

The emergence of nutrition as a policy-making arena has coincided with the development of sophisticated tools to serve and support this endeavour through the use of mathematical modelling techniques and diverse data sources.

These tools have the capacity to inform one or many of the stages in the policy development process, including building advocacy strategies, modelling the effect of interventions on the health of populations, and assessing the costs and potential returns of investment in nutrition actions.

The optimal use of these tools is founded upon:

A closer examination of the effectiveness of these tools is a matter of particular urgency for the signatory countries of the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement (SUN), as each one makes commitments to planning, resource allocation and resource-tracking.

Approach

MNF and SINS convened a meeting of tool developers, technical experts involved in their application, as well as the users themselves, to clarify expectations, and identify and address challenges in both their adoption and the interpretation and use of the results.

The meeting focused on the impact the tools have had on policy and programs, and explored the factors that have facilitated or impeded their influence.

The tools under discussion included:

Profiles
IMAPP
Cost of Diet/Filling the Gap
LIST
Optima Nutrition
ABC/FANTA
MINIMOD
Optifood

Objectives of the Consultation

The principal outcome of the workshop will be a consensus report providing the following information and insights:

  1. The “state of the art” in decision-making tools for nutrition policies and programs
  2. The unique contribution of each tool, strengths, weaknesses, and the quality of its “fit” into processes and programs
  3. Guidelines for the successful use of each tool within specific contexts and for the solution of particular problems
  4. Identification of gaps, and recommendations for additional research required to improve the collective utility of the suite of tools in support of nutrition policy and program decision-making

Scientific Organizing Committee

Gilles Bergeron
The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science
Profile

Rafael Flores-Ayaya
U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

Lynnette Neufeld
Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition
Profile

Luz Maria De-Regil
Nutrition International
Profile

Homero Martinez
Micronutrient Forum
Profile

Participants

Lindsay Allen
University of California, Davis
Profile

Joyceline Kaganda
Tanzania Food and Nutrition Centre

Alicia Carriquiry
Iowa State University
Profile

Reina Engle Stone
University of California, Davis
Profile

Elaine Ferguson
London School of Health and Tropical Medicine

Patrizia Fracassi
Scaling Up Nutrition
Profile

Rebecca Heidkamp
Johns Hopkins University
Profile

Jakub Jan Kakietek
The World Bank

Frances Knight
The World Food Program

Ferew Lemma
Federal Ministry of Health, Ethiopia

Saskia de Pee
World Food Program

Ellen Piwoz
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Profile

Rahul Rawat
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Meera Shekar
The World Bank
Profile

Kavita Sethuraman
FANTA
Profile

Steve Vosti
University of California, Davis
Profile

Monica Woldt
FANTA
Profile

Project Coordination/Consultants

Kara Greenblott
Scientific Writer

Mireille Mclean
The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science
Profile

Saskia Osendarp
Nutrition International
Profile