Nigeria lacked regular, good quality and independent information on nutrition indicators. UNICEF supported the National Bureau of Statistics to conduct annual nutrition surveys with the objective of supplying this vital information. Initially undertaken in States affected by the Sahel Crisis in 2010, by 2014 the survey had expanded to all 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory.
Annual cross sectional household surveys were undertaken using the Standardized Monitoring and Assessment of Relief and Transitions (SMART) methodology. Survey sample size was 25,000 households. Data were collected on anthropometrics, coverage of micronutrient interventions and infant and young child feeding practices. Recent surveys also collected data on antenatal care, health and water sanitation and hygiene.
In addition to providing State specific information, these data have been used to assess programme equity by creating multiple deprivation index using various nutrition and cross sectorial indicators. The analysis can show how many children suffer any from any form of malnutrition or how many children are deprived of specific nutrition intervention or in combination. Each State is provided with an index score. For instance, Jigawa has a score of 0.23 vs Ogun with 0.68, which indicates twice the level of deprivation.
The SMART survey has become a national monitoring tool for nutrition and health sector, including for a $500 million performance based financing project with vitamin A supplementation as one of the 5 core indicators. It has also informed evidence based planning. The multiple deprivation analysis has served as a powerful tool for advocacy and resources mobilization.