Submitted to: Lancet
Publication Type: Review article
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/1/2008
Publication Date: 1/19/2008
Citation: Heikens, G.T., Amadi, B.C., Manary, M., Rollins, N., Tomkins, A. 2008. Nutrition interventions need improved operational capacity. Lancet. 371(9608):181-182. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: The Lancet's Child Survival Series was a galvanising manifesto: it focused action plans to improve the well-being of children worldwide. However, the authors did not address in detail the importance of nutrition in child survival, and thus the current Undernutrition Series was born. This welcome new Series focuses on micronutrient interventions and stunting as manifestations of a poor diet, and comprehensively catalogs the topic from a multiplicity of datasets and viewpoints. We must move beyond "more studies and more data", and enter the realm of effectiveness and operational research. Let us start with our goal of child survival and work backwards and learn by doing. Such an initiative requires a shift in current thinking about nutrition and health, a shift that is urgently needed to address the ill-health aspects of undernutrition in southern Africa. The Lancet's Undernutrition Series provides valuable knowledge, mostly based on trials. However, to scale-up nutritional interventions, we need a knowledge base on the necessary support and institutional capacity that enables these interventions to work and improve child survival. Child-health professionals in southern Africa are prepared and waiting to move ahead.