The detrimental consequences of child undernutrition are well documented. The fact that the effects of undernutrition early in life are largely irreversible means that quick and effective action is crucial. Large-scale surveys that take place every few years are useful for mapping national and global trends, but their infrequency and the time lag before obtaining findings, and their aggregated nature, mean other sources of data are needed for policy and programme decisions which need to be taken quickly. Nutrition surveillance systems that collect regular and representative primary nutritional data can provide such information. Unfortunately, such systematic processes for tracking trends within countries only exist in a few countries. Methods used vary greatly and there is little research into their effectiveness and value.
The aim of this study was to review past and current nutrition surveillance systems that involve anthropometric data collection in low-income countries, in order to examine their role in nutrition surveillance. The findings are based on a review of published and unpublished literature, and interviews with key informants.
This report is a product of the research consortium Transform Nutrition.
V. Tuffrey. Nutrition surveillance systems: their use and value. (2017). London: Save the Children and Transform Nutrition