The purpose of this paper is to describe the use of the Landscape Analysis to assess strengths and weaknesses in combating malnutrition in sub-Saharan Africa. The Landscape Analysis is an inter-agency initiative to assess gaps and constraints and to identify opportunities for effective nutrition actions in order to accelerate inter- sectoral action for improving nutrition. In-depth Country Assessments to evaluate countries' "readiness" to scale up nutrition action have been conducted since 2008 in Sub-Saharan Africa. "Readiness" was assessed in terms of the commitment and capacity of each country and the focus was high stunting burden countries. The main focus was countries with heavy burden of undernutrition. From 2008 to September 2011, a total of 14 countries had undertaken the Landscape Analysis Country Assessment. Nine of them were in Africa: Burkina Faso, Comoros, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, and South Africa. Three additional countries (Guinea, Namibia and Tanzania) were also planning to complete the Landscape Analysis Country Assessment in early 2012.
From the findings in the nine countries, the following recommendations have been made:
- Existing nutrition architectures and coordination mechanisms should be strengthened and better utilized;
- Nutrition needs to be mainstreamed and integrated in relevant sector policies;
- Advocacy at high levels is needed to highlight the importance of the lifecourse perspective, focusing particularly on nutrition interventions from
preconception until the first two years of life;
- National nutrition policies need to be translated into programmatic actions;
- Human resource capacity for public health nutrition needs to be built with high
quality in-service trainings in the short-term and long-term strategies to
provide pre-service trainings;
- Community-based outreach should be strengthened by using existing
- National nutrition surveillance systems need to be strengthened to ensure
adequate use of data for monitoring, evaluation, and planning purposes.
As part of the implementation of the 2010 World Health Assembly resolution on Infant and Young Child Nutrition (WHA 63.23) WHO has proposed a process to help countries in developing scale-up plans, which incorporates the Landscape Analysis Country Assessment as a tool to help countries in undertaking the initial context mapping. The countries that have already undertaken an in-depth Country Assessment, such as the Landscape Analysis Country Assessment, are ready to move forward in implementing the next steps in developing scaling-up plans to accelerate action in nutrition. At the same time, WHO will support additional countries that have expressed interest in conducting the Country Assessment.