Reaching the unreached: determinants of access to health care and nutrition interventions

Sponsored symposium

In collaboration with the Micronutrient Initiative (MI)

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, 12 November 2014
III World Congress of Public Health Nutrition: The Core of the International Cooperation for Development
Auditorio Alfredo Krauss, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
08:00 – 10:00, Sala Polivalente

Scope and purpose

Evidence-informed interventions aimed to tackle the double burden of malnutrition are sometimes not accessed by the individuals and communities that most need them. In some cases, interventions might be designed in a manner that overlooks certain groups or factors that lead to difficulties in implementation and scaling-up. Access to interventions is unequally distributed across social groups, contributing to sustain health differences that are unjust and avoidable.

These inequities in malnutrition need to be addressed in order to reach World Health Assembly six Global Targets 2025 to improve maternal, infant and young child nutrition and strengthen health systems to timely and effectively achieve them.

The symposium seeks to present the World Health Organization’s approach to equity in access to nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions. Undergoing efforts by the public and voluntary sector to reach disadvantaged populations with nutrition actions will be presented. The symposium encompasses both conceptual considerations and practical field experiences highlighting lessons learned on what can be done to reach hidden or excluded population groups.

Participants attending the symposium will be given the chance to discuss conceptual and operational considerations on how to advance equity in access to nutrition interventions and what implementation issues may come up and how to address them.


The symposium will encompass five fifteen-minute presentations followed by an open discussion where participants will provide insights, questions, comments and critiques to the presentations as well as put forward issues that can take contribute to the discussion in the future. The topics to be presented are (titles can be subject to change):

  • Conceptual considerations on equity in access to interventions addressing the double burden of malnutrition from a social determinants of health approach. Mr Gerardo Zamora (WHO, HQ)
  • Equity and implementation issues concerning the six global targets 2025 to improve maternal, infant and young child nutrition. Dr Juan Pablo Peña-Rosas (WHO, HQ)
  • Strengthening health systems for an equitable access to nutrition and antenatal care. Experiences from 3 African countries. Dr Luz Maria De-Regil (MI)
  • Addressing inequities in access to health systems in India. Mr Daniel Albrecht (WHO/SEARO)
  • Connecting public-private-civil society and community to address the challenges in increasing access to iron fortified fish and soy sauces among rural communities in Cambodia. Theary Chan (Reproductive and Child Health Alliance, RACHA – CAMBODIA)