Meeting of the WHO Guideline development group – nutrition actions

18 - 21 February, 2013, WHO Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland

Scope and purpose

The WHO Department of Nutrition for Health and Development has strengthened its role in providing evidence-informed policy and programme guidance to Member States, in partnership with relevant internal partners and guided by the new WHO guidelines development process.

This normative mandate was reaffirmed through a request from the 63rd World Health Assembly to strengthen the evidence base on effective and safe nutrition actions to counteract the public health effects of the double burden of malnutrition, and to describe good practices for successful implementation. It was acknowledged that achieving the Millennium Development Goals would require the reduction of maternal and child malnutrition.

To implement this process, NHD is establishing a WHO Guideline development group – nutrition actions 2013-2014 guided by the WHO Steering Committee for Nutrition Guidelines Development, which includes representatives from all Departments in WHO with an interest in the provision of nutrition recommendations in in stable and emergency settings.

The membership of WHO Guideline development group – nutrition actions is for the period 2013-2014 and includes experts from various WHO Expert advisory panels and those identified through open calls for experts taking into consideration a balanced mix of genders, multiple disciplinary areas of expertise, and representation from all WHO Regions.

The WHO Guideline development group – nutrition actions will implement a biannual programme of work on these areas and meet twice a year to provide advice on the following:

  • The scope of the guidelines and priority questions for which systematic reviews of evidence will be commissioned.
  • The choice of important outcomes for decision-making and developing recommendations.
  • The interpretation of the evidence with explicit consideration of the overall balance of risks and benefits.
  • The final drafting of formulating recommendations, taking into account existing evidence as well as diverse values and preferences.

WHO is convening a meeting with the WHO Guideline development group – nutrition actions in Geneva from 18-21 February 2013 to continue previous efforts and to initiate the new process. Follow-up meetings will take place on 4-8 November 2013 and in February and November 2014 to review the Summary of Findings using Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) tables and finalize the recommendations of the work plan.

The main objectives of this meeting are to:

  • Formally launch the WHO Guideline development group – nutrition actions for 2013-2014.
  • Present the WHO Handbook for guideline development 2012 and Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) methodology to be used in global nutrition guideline development.
  • Discuss the evidence-informed recommendations for global guidelines on:
    • Point of use fortification of foods with multiple micronutrient powders for preschool- and school-age children;
    • Preventive oral supplementation with iron or iron with folic acid for women following childbirth;
  • Determine the strength of these recommendations, considering the balance of evidence for benefits and harms, and taking into account costs, values and preferences.
  • Define implications for research in the areas discussed.
  • Agree on a ‘review by’ date for the guideline validity, considering on-going research and controversies.
  • Review and finalize the scope, questions, priority outcomes and methods for the development of nutrition guidelines in priority areas for the period 2013-2014.