The Healthy Growth Project

Promoting healthy growth and preventing childhood stunting

On setting and implementing a stunting reduction agenda

Report of a colloquium

Action points for country programme implementers

Where political commitment to reduce stunting and other forms of malnutrition, some tips for implementers are presented in this brochure.

Attaining global nutrition targets depends on the quality and resourcing of the plans made and implemented at country level. This calls for political will, resources and capacity to prevent stunting. Country efforts should measure up to the challenge in all its complexity: how many under-fives are stunted? Where do they live? What are the determinants of stunting in specific contexts? The causes of stunting are rooted in various sectors. Therefore, cross-sector and trans-disciplinary approaches are needed to address the problem, as well as coherence among inter-dependent initiatives at national, subnational and grassroots levels.

Successful national coordination consists in, i) creating enabling policy environments and governance structures to direct and support multiple stakeholder collaboration; and ii) empowering and equipping implementers to translate policies into action.

Subnational implementation needs strategic and operational capacity to deliver appropriate and timely services to the population. This calls for strengthened infrastructures to bring high quality preventive and curative health care, safe water supplies, education, services in agriculture and environmental and social protection, etc. Implementers at this level should be equipped with the supplies, skills and motivation required to fulfil their role.

Households and communities should participate as the main protagonists of healthy child growth and development. Caregivers need to be sensitized to the causes and consequences of stunting and made aware that their actions (feeding, care, protection, stimulation) are critical because they directly impact how children grow and develop.

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