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Improving Dietary and Health Data for Decision-Making

Updated: Apr 11, 2019

Developing and implementing a low-cost approach to tracking and disseminating information on household consumption and child health in near-real-time.



Although “[m]alnutrition overall remains an immense and universal problem, with at least one in three people globally experiencing malnutrition in some form” information on nutrition is scarce in many of the poorest and most malnourished regions of the world (p17, Global Nutrition Report, 2017).

​​In part, this is because standard approaches to measuring and monitoring nutrition status are either extremely costly or rely on spot checks and recall information, which can suffer both from non-representativeness and inaccuracies.  Furthermore, neither approach provides the cost-effective and accurate real-time and repeated measures across seasons that are required to precisely track nutritional dynamics across seasons or monitor for nutrition related disasters, such a famine.


We are proposing to develop a mobile-based platform that allows household members to record, submit and monitor information on their household’s nutrition intake and the health status of the children living in the household. The platform will rely on icons, figures, and audio, so that literacy is not required to submit or receive information. Household members will be trained on both submitting information as well as understanding and acting on the information reported by the platform.

​In the initial pilot stage, the project will use trained technicians to also collect household data in parallel to the household-collected data. The technician-collected data will provide a benchmark by which to learn about the accuracy of the household-collected data and the trade-offs in cost, frequency, and accuracy, between lower frequency data collected by “experts” and higher frequency data collected by households.


We have co-authored a proposal with FANRPAN, which has been submitted to IDRC. This proposal is based on leveraging existing ongoing nutritional interventions so that the proposed platform is judged by how well it meets the needs in a real-world impact assessment setting.



FANRPAN - Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network


International Development Research Centre


2018 - 2022



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