Fighting Maternal and Child Malnutrition: Analysing the political and institutional determinants of delivering a national multisectoral response in six countries

Abstract

This report proposes a framework to understand how good nutrition governance can contribute to positive changes directly related to nutrition outcomes.

Existing works around nutrition have acknowledged the importance of governance organisations and institutions to improve the quality of nutritional outcomes (Pelletier 2002, 2011; Natalicchio 2002; REACH 2009; WHO 2009). This paper makes two contributions to existing approaches:

  • It provides a qualitative account of how formal political dynamics and informal practices influence the management of government efforts to reduce undernutrition, and how the political management of such interventions impact the effectiveness of nutrition programmes and outcomes.
  • It brings a comparative perspective to understanding why or when, some countries that have strongly committed to reducing malnutrition, can effectively deliver on improved nutrition outcomes while others make insufficient or no progress at all. The comparative approach is helpful to illustrate, e.g. why some countries with strong civil society activism are more successful at mobilising effective political support, whereas strong civil society is less effective in other countries.

The study compares government nutrition strategies in six countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Peru and Zambia. All countries exhibit medium and strong nutrition governance indicators but only some are on track for reaching the MDG nutrition target by 2015, while others show insufficient or no progress at all (WHO 2009). The purpose of this study is to go beyond the vague notion of ‘political will’ and explore: when do governments commit to adopting and implementing a national nutrition strategy and create effective incentives, motivations and alliances so that policymakers deliver appropriate and comprehensive nutrition policies in the long run.

Citation

Acosta, A.M.; Fanzo, J. Fighting Maternal and Child Malnutrition: Analysing the political and institutional determinants of delivering a national multisectoral response in six countries. Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Brighton, UK (2012) 39 pp.

Fighting Maternal and Child Malnutrition: Analysing the political and institutional determinants of delivering a national multisectoral response in six countries

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