Diet Quality and Health of the Poor

Nutrition in India

Partnerships and Opportunities to Strengthen and Harmonize Actions for Nutrition in India (POSHAN)

POSHAN (Partnerships and Opportunities to Strengthen and Harmonize Actions for Nutrition in India) is a 4-year initiative which aims to build evidence on effective actions for nutrition and support the use of evidence in decision-making. It is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and led by IFPRI in India in collaboration with Institute of Development Studies, UK and Public Health Foundation of India.

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The persistence of undernutrition in the face of India’s impressive economic growth is of enormous concern. Not only are the absolute numbers so high, but the prevalence of young child stunting, underweight and wasting – and the fact it has changed so little through the last two decades -- continue to shock. Although it is now clear that direct interventions to reduce child undernutrition must be delivered at scale to achieve rapid reductions in undernutrition, in India, less than 55% of mothers and children receive any of the essential health and nutrition interventions they should. Three critical issues hinder progress – the multiplicity of actors and processes; the divergence of opinion on how best to deliver critical interventions; and the lack of coherent and effective policy engagement mechanisms. Within this context, successful policy dialogue, appropriate policy choices, and effective program action will require transformational thinking coupled with the engagement of numerous players. Although examples exist of engagement processes to move thinking and consensus forward, few processes or networks reach across communities or cut across from national to state level.

POSHAN will aim to crystallize the evidence base for action on nutrition in India, bring diverse stakeholders together and actively facilitate dialogue, evidence-building, learning and consensus building, with the goal of moving knowledge into practice in diverse contexts within India. POSHAN will build on existing initiatives, action networks, consortia and coalitions, with the primary goal of strengthening evidence-based dialogue and action. POSHAN has two major objectives: (1) Analyze direct and indirect nutrition-relevant interventions to generate knowledge on optimal approaches to address major bottlenecks to improve maternal and child nutrition outcomes in India; (2) Mobilize evidence-based and actionable knowledge to inform policy formulation and support program planning for nutrition at the national level and in 3-4 key states.

POSHAN aims to ensure greater attention to evidence of impact and operational success, and create demand for more evidence-based, successful programming for improved nutrition.