The Eleanor Crook Foundation (ECF) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, have jointly released a review to explore the research on pairing nutrition interventions with vaccine delivery to save more lives.
Despite calls for greater integration between nutrition and immunization programs – and the strong theoretical benefits of integration – there is little consensus on what works in Immunization-Nutrition Integration (INI) programming. This review (available here and also at the link below) aims to consolidate the latest evidence on the effectiveness of INI programs, and the factors that influence their success. It also recommends a path forward for programming and further generation of evidence.
The report details the following key takeaways for global health practitioners:
1. Co-deliver highly compatible nutrition and immunization interventions, building on the well-documented example of integrating Vitamin A Supplementation into immunization platforms.
2. Generate demand and promote health behaviors through broader, community-based platforms that are not solely designed for nutrition or immunization, such as the use of the care group approach.
3. Explore high-potential INI opportunities when the logic for integration is strong – and simultaneously build the evidence base. In particular, the review recommends adopting a proactive learning agenda that includes reaching malnourished, under-immunized or zero-dose children.
4. Across all settings, generate evidence on the dual impact and cost-benefit of integration.
In summary, under certain conditions, INI programming holds significant promise, and some successful cases of integration have been documented. While the evidence is limited, the potential benefits justify further exploration.
The findings from this review formed the basis of support for NutriVax, our $2 million co-investment with Gavi. The project will fund research to explore the impact of pairing a high-impact malnutrition intervention with immunization services, and holds the promise to improve health outcomes for vulnerable children on these two critical fronts. Read more about this investment here.
To read the executive summary, click here.