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Publication | 14 May 2019

Fighting maternal and child malnutrition. Analysing the political and institutional determinants of delivering a national multisectoral response in six countries

Global Food and Nutrition Security

This report proposes a framework to understand how good nutrition governance can contribute to positive changes directly related to nutrition outcomes. It is based on a study comparing government nutrition strategies in six countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Peru and Zambia.

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.