Evidence-Based Integration of Nutrition Across Multiple Sector Programs: How Can This Be Done?

At the International Union of Nutritional Sciences – International Congress of Nutrition (IUNS-ICN) in Buenos Aires, Argentina in October 2017, SISN and Nutrition International (NI) co-sponsored a symposium entitled “Evidence-based integration of nutrition across multiple sector programs: how can this be done?”, which was chaired by SISN Board Member, Dr. Luz Maria De-Regil and her colleague from NI, Dr. Chowdhury Jalal.

The symposium started with Dr. Purnima Menon, Senior Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), providing a critical review of the challenges and opportunities for successful integration. To date, the evidence-base on how to achieve impact through integrated cross-sector programming is weak. In practice, poor program targeting, design, implementation and evaluation has limited the evidence supporting impact. Dr. Menon concluded that “For effective integrations, all key actors must agree on problem, causes and solutions”. This introductory presentation can be viewed here.

A series of speakers then shared their practical experiences of designing and implementing integrated programs to improve nutrition outcomes. These presentations included:

  1. Integrated nutrition programming across government and non-government sectors in Timor-Leste: Strategies used to make collaboration at the household level the default. Heather Grieve, Australian Embassy and Development Program, Dili, Timor-Leste. (View)
  2. Integration and scaling up nutrition within NGO Programs: challenges and opportunities in Bangladesh. Sayeda Shabukta Malik, Program Manager, Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) Health Nutrition and Population Program, Bangladesh. (View)
  3. Integration of nutrition into multi-sector BRAC programs: Overview of an evidence-based design. Chowdhury Jalal, NI, Canada (View)
  4. Use of focused ethnographic study method to design integration of nutrition into BRAC programs. James Stephen Lee, Independent Consultant, USA (View)

After these public health and nutrition experts shared their real-world examples, Dr. Gretel Pelto, Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University provided a brief summary of the key issues highlighted and proposed a way forward. This led to an engaging 20-minute question and answer period. These interactions between the audience and panelists can be viewed here.

In our next blog we will be going behind the scenes of this symposium and speaking to some of the panel members about their presentations, their insights on implementation research, and the value of the SISN Framework for Implementation Science to those actively working in the field.


Thanks to Nutrition International for sharing the recording of this event.

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