Due to the predominance of direct, specific interventions in nutrition for development, the health sector tends to own nutrition, with interventions customarily implemented through health programs. That the agriculture sector should also be a vehicle for improved nutrition is intuitive, but this sector often delivers neither good nutrition nor food security to the most vulnerable in the population. The complex and multisectoral nature of malnutrition may explain why it has not been effectively addressed, even though we know many of the solutions; intersectoral action is critical to addressing this complexity, but to date there is no consensus on how intersectoral solutions are best implemented or institutionalized. This review brings together experiences from across Sub-Saharan Africa in order to draw out recommendations for improved intersectoral implementation going forward, and assesses how these findings apply specifically to the Zambian context.
The experiences reviewed suggest three broad barriers to intersectoral collaboration for nutrition: low political commitment and mobilization; sector-bound organizational structures and weak coordinating bodies; and lack of human resources and capacity. Key lessons for improved intersectoral implementation include the role of advocacy in framing the problem in context and highlighting mutual gains for different sectors, to create the political will and working space for nutrition action; the importance of organizational arrangements, including convening or coordinating bodies with multisectoral credibility to facilitate mobilizing and resourcing power; and the importance of building not only technical but also strategic capacity to manage multisectoral relationships for improved nutrition outcomes. Ultimately, these solutions will have to be tailored to country contexts.
Zambia is an ideal candidate for a country that could make a significant impact on its malnutrition problem. With the emergence of...
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