Impact assessment and Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E):
- Gaps exist in how sensitive and effective assessment methods are, how well surveillance methods perform, and on the impact of interventions.
- Better monitoring and evaluation (and better of use of related data) is needed to improve the quality of nutrition programmes.
- A considerable amount of data exists but is not analysed and is poorly managed. In many organisations, data collected is not centralised or organised.
Targeting specific groups:
- Some vulnerable groups are left out: infants-under six months, the elderly and people with disabilities. Little is done to i) identify/detect these groups, ii) design appropriate protocols/interventions, and iii) integrate within other routine programmes.
Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF):
- There are huge gaps in IYCF research although there are more emphases today with Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement.
Prevention/management of Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM):
- Information to support the prevention and management of moderate acute malnutrition should be prioritised.
- There is too much focus on acute malnutrition and not enough on stunting.
Treatment of SAM:
- Coverage and early detection should be prioritised.
- Little is known about long-term effects of Ready to Use Foods (RUF).
ISSUES RELATED TO CONTEXT AND TYPE OF CRISIS
- More information is needed on nutritional needs in urban areas/slums (including support on methods given the challenges of sampling and conducting surveys).
- Aetiology of malnutrition is different in urban areas (social context, access to care).
- Emergencies in middle-income countries and/or where Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) prevalence is low are very different and require different approaches.
TYPE OF STUDY NEEDED
• All designs, including mix-methods approaches, should be used.
USE OF GUIDELINES AND STANDARDS
- Sphere guidelines are used to assess nutrition programme performances. Most organisations refer to best practices research method such as CONSORT or STROBE. However many organisations have their own technical research policy and guidelines.
IS THERE CONSENSUS ON RESEARCH GAPS?
- Although most experts have their specific agenda (i.e. particular target group) there seems to be a consensus on the evidence gaps: i) IYCF interventions, ii) MAM and stunting, iii) tools for M&E and more M&E, and iv) context