Multi-criteria Mapping of Stakeholders’ Viewpoints in Five Southeast Asian Countries on Strategies to Reduce Micronutrient Deficiencies Among Children and Women of Reproductive Age: Findings from the SMILING Project
Despite scientific evidence on the potential impact or importance of specific interventions to improve micronutrient status of vulnerable groups, political commitment and extensive support from national stakeholders is paramount to support introduction and implementation of these interventions at national level. In order to develop efficient nutritional strategies to improve the micronutrient status of children < 5 years of age and women of reproductive age that will be supported by a wide range of stakeholders, a better understanding of viewpoints on the nutrition politics and strategies is necessary. Multi-criteria mapping (MCM) was successfully used to assess the stakeholder’s viewpoint in a wide variety of contexts since the late 1990s.
The objective of the present study was to assess the viewpoints of stakeholders on a wide range of potential nutritional interventions in the five Southeast Asian countries participating in the SMILING project.
MCM methodology was used to appraise the stakeholder’s viewpoints in five countries.
The results show that the overall stakeholders’ preference was for actions already implemented in their country rather than for new, innovative options, even for supplementation. Indirect interventions such like food fortification (except in Indonesia), delayed cord clamping or food-based approaches were generally less favored by the stakeholders. However, the majority of stakeholders agreed that new approaches should be considered and put in place in the future provided that evidence of their impact was demonstrated, that they received adequate technical support for their implementation and their monitoring, and that they will be accompanied by strong advocacy among decision-makers, civil society and beneficiaries.
Conclusions for practice
To conclude, for the introduction of new, innovative strategies to reduce micronutrient deficiencies in South-East Asia, convincing stakeholders appears to be the first hurdle to be taken.
KeywordsNutrition policies Children Women of reproductive age Stakeholder Multi-criteria mapping Micronutrient deficiencies Southeast Asia Fortification
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