WHO evidence-informed guidelines in Nutrition for Health and Development

WHO has recognized the need to use more rigorous processes to ensure that health care recommendations are informed by the best available research evidence. In response to a call from the Fifty-eighth World Health Assembly, WHO established the Guidelines Review Committee (GRC) with the purpose of developing and implementing procedures to ensure that WHO guidelines are developed in ways consistent with best practice, emphasizing the appropriate use of evidence. These procedures, described in the WHO Handbook for Guideline Development have been adopted by the Organization as of 1 January 2009.

The Department of Nutrition for Health and Development (NHD) 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, acknowledging that achieving the Millennium Development Goals would require the reduction of maternal and child malnutrition.

To take forward the work on evidence-informed guidance, NHD established in 2010 a WHO Nutrition Guidance Expert Advisory Group (NUGAG), 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 recommendations in nutrition.

The membership of this group will be reviewed every two years and includes experts from various WHO Expert Advisory Panels as well as experts from a larger roster developed through open calls for experts, taking into consideration a balanced mix of genders, multiple disciplinary areas of expertise, and representation from all WHO Regions.

Due to some organizational changes implemented in NHD in January 2012 and in an effort to reduce the administrative burden of managing multiple subgroups, the groups operate in the following two subgroups:

Financial support

The sources of financial support for this evidence-informed guideline process include the Government of Luxembourg, Government of Japan, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH), FANTA 2, Academy for Educational Development (AED), and the Micronutrient Initiative, with whom we have ongoing collaborations and established partnerships.