05 August 2014

So What Drove Maharashtra's Stunting Declines 2006-2012? New Study

Today a new report from IDS-UNICEF (written by me, Nick Nisbett, Inka Barnett and Elsa Valli) on the reasons for the rapid declines in stunting in Maharashtra between 2006 and 2012.

Report is here.  Video is here.  Powerpoints are here.

We used three approaches to tell the story: a review of reports and studies; primary stakeholder interviews and a comparison of two the surveys from 2006 and 2012.

We found improvements in stunting were across the board in all groups.  There were many improvements in determinants at many levels and in many sectors, but they were not amazingly large--they were just wide-ranging.

The conclusions were that if stunting cannot decline in Maharashtra where lots of things were moving in the right direction then stunting will not decline anywhere.

On the other hand there were still things that did not improve much--food security, sanitation, and PDS leakage.   So Maharashtra is not such a perfect scenario that these results cannot be replicated elsewhere (and probably are in many Indian states).

Finally we noted that these declines took 10 years of public commitment and quiet hard work from governments, civil society and researchers --all working together.

Undernutrition can come down quickly, it just takes a lot of people working together with a strong and enduring focus.

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