Innovative Approaches for the Prevention of Undernutrition

Innovative Approaches for the Prevention of Undernutrition (PROMIS) is a three-year (2014-16) project funded by Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFAT-D), that seeks to prevent both acute and chronic undernutrition in children in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Senegal.

Tackling child undernutrition requires a dual approach consisting of prevention during the first 1,000 days (from conception to a child’s second birthday) and treatment of moderate or severe acute malnutrition (MAM/SAM) in young children. In practice, the prevention and treatment of undernutrition have been treated as two separate goals addressed with separate sets of interventions, programs, and delivery systems. This project aims to leverage existing program delivery platforms and develop cost-effective approaches that address both the prevention of undernutrition and the detection and treatment of SAM in young children.

The project is being implemented by IFPRI, in close collaboration with Helen Keller International. The research and evaluation activities led by IFPRI will address the following three key objectives:

  1. Identify opportunities and assess the feasibility of optimizing existing delivery platforms to enhance screening for – and uptake of MAM/SAM treatment services – by integrating preventive services such as small quantity-lipid based nutrient supplements (SQ-LNS) and behavior change communications (BCC)
  2. Assess the impact of such integrated programs on improving the coverage, uptake and completion of MAM/SAM treatment services
  3. Assess the impact, cost, and cost-effectiveness of the integrated programs on reducing the incidence and prevalence of MAM/SAM and chronic undernutrition in 2 focus countries (Burkina Faso and Mali)

The rigorous in-depth evaluations planned for Burkina Faso and Mali will build on IFPRI’s extensive experience conducting rigorous program effectiveness evaluations of complex integrated programs involving multiple sectors, internationally and in the region. In Senegal, we will focus on assessing the feasibility of integrating prevention and treatment in an urban and a rural setting; our evaluation in Senegal will thus focus mainly on process indicators – activities and outputs – to assess whether the activity can indeed be implemented in this setting.

The knowledge generated by this work will provide critical information to guide global, regional, and national policies in scaling up nutrition.