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community based nutrition surveillance system

This question was posted the Assessment and Surveillance forum area and has 2 replies.

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Yibo Wood

Normal user

13 Apr 2016, 12:06

I am looking for examples of community based nutrition surveillance system (especially those used in East Africa), tools used as well as any challenges in establishing such system, what trainings are needed to successfully implement the system. Look forward to hearing from you. Thanks,

Claire Blanchard

SUN CSN coordinator

Normal user

14 Apr 2016, 08:18

Good to see that you are looking at community based nutrition surveillance systems. Civil Society Alliances of the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement are actively engaging in this sort of efforts. Some examples can be found in our recently published accountability think piece -!publications/c1ryh We also have witnessed a very interesting experience in Guatemala - We are trying to systematise these experiences.
In addition, 2 of our members are actively engaging in social accountability and participatory monitoring and evaluation.

Philip McKinney

Nutrition Survey & Research Advisor (Concern)

Normal user

5 May 2016, 16:42

Definitely look at the Guatemala example... seems they're doing good work there! There are some fantastic things happening with nutrition surveillance in LACRO (UNICEF) - Stefano Fedele and co.

Many of the systems in East Africa are rather driven by observation based tools (point prevalence etc.). What is interesting is that there has been a return back to the days in the 1980s when the Iringa (Tanzania) Nutrition Programme (INP) created the UNICEF causal framework by having a community based surveillance tool / problem identification (such as NCA/MoRES/InfoRM/Bottleneck Analysis). Some rooting around on the internet may bring up useful materials. However, if the INP model is to be followed community nutrition educators (in various aspects of this e.g. song/dance/theatre/ IEC) would be present to support good nutrition practices, children identified as undernourished would get additional support, so they need to identify malnourished children (whether that be MUAC, W/A, W/H, H/A), as well as referral systems if treatment is required. One should also consider the training needs for decision makers and nutritionists at the local level (analysis, budget allocations, support etc.). But this would depend on the model you're applying and my points are not exhaustive. There is also the OPT+ system in the Philippines ( that isn't quite community based but follows some of the same principles.

UNICEF's approaches of MoRES and Bottle Neck Analysis fit into the community based approach (with the need for decision makers to be involved so that capacity issues are identified to deal with cases identified). That is, identify why there's a problem not what is the problem, as we've spent many years doing.

This is really my 2 cents worth... I would just note that it seems that the key is to engage local authorities, as much as central government, into the process. Having reviewed a number of systems that are heavily supported by NGOs, responsibility and accountability needs to lie within the government structures for all the processes. I'll stop there... I could go on forever…

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