Towards concerted government efforts? Assessing nutrition policy integration in Uganda
This study (PDF) in the Food Security journal uses a novel policy integration perspective to investigate the extent to which eight ministries in Uganda integrated nutrition concerns across their policy outputs between 2001 and 2017. To tackle malnutrition more effectively, Sub-Saharan African governments have developed overarching, integrative policy strategie. However, little is known about their follow-up and success (or failure). As well as on how nutrition concerns are explicitly addressed in policies of different ministries. 103 policy outputs were assessed for changes in subsystems involved, policy goals, and instruments used. Overall, the study found a shift towards increased integrated government action on nutrition over time. The 2011–2015 analysis period was a critical juncture where increased integration of nutrition was observed in all policy integration dimensions across all ministries. However, considerable variations in actor networks, goals, and instruments exist across sectors and over time. The sustainability of nutrition integration efforts remains contentious, so continuous monitoring will be essential. Implications for research are follow-up questions related to; what explains the findings? How do instruments within and across ministries interact with one another? And what are the interactions at governance level and how are integrated nutrition services delivered on the ground? Governance implications include: 1) Scaling up the tracking of nutrition policy across countries is an important step for domestic and international stakeholders. 2) More emphasis on aspects of nutrition that are under addressed, and get commitment of various ministries. 3) The continuity of nutrition integration will benefit from governments normalising it as part of sectors’ regular mandate. 4) The Ugandan government should consider expanding the types of instruments deployed for improving nutrition. 5) Improved nutrition governance in Uganda will rely on whether the government and international agencies manage to harness the current awareness of malnutrition across sectors. This requires scaled-up investments in a mix of instruments and the development of an integrated monitoring system to evaluate how interactions between interventions play out on the ground.