Journal article

Introducing infant and young child feeding indicators into national nutrition surveillance systems: lessons from Viet Nam (Hajeebhoy N., 2013. Maternal Child Nutrition)

18 Sep 13
Author(s)Nemat Hajeebhoy, Phuong Hong Nguyen, Do Thanh Tran, Mercedes de Onis
Topic(s): Breastfeeding, Complementary feeding, Research
Location: East Asia Pacific
Language(s): English
Audience: Program designers and implementers
Programs: Strategic use of data

A comprehensive set of infant and young child feeding (IYCF) indicators for international use was published in 2008. Alive & Thrive (A&T) undertook a process to incorporate these indicators into Viet Nam’s National Nutrition Surveillance System (NNSS). While anthropometric indicators based on international standards were regularly used for program purposes, data on IYCF could not be collected with similar rigor until 2010. In 2009, with support from Alive & Thrive and UNICEF, the NNSS questionnaire was reviewed and additional content incorporated to measure IYCF practices. The tool was pilot-tested in 10 provinces and revised before nationwide roll-out in 2010.The tool comprises four pages, the first three of which focus on collecting data relating to maternal nutrition and IYCF. The last page is flexibly designed to incorporate planners’ data requests for other relevant activities (e.g. mass media interventions, food security). This IYCF data has been used for policy advocacy (e.g. maternity leave legislation, advertisement law), program planning, trend monitoring, and capacity building. Adoption of the IYCF indicators was successful due to strategic timing, a phased approach, buy-in from stakeholders, and capacity building at all levels to ensure the quality and use of data. Further revisions to the NNSS (e.g. sampling methodology, quality assurance systems) will be important to ensure the reliability of indicators.