Two new resources for expanding nutrition services within primary health care

March 16, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The World Health Organization (WHO) and Results for Development (R4D) have published new resources on strategic purchasing for nutrition in primary health care (PHC). These resources can be used by government officials and nutrition program managers to improve the coverage and quality of nutrition services delivered within broader PHC services.  

“Strategic purchasing for nutrition and the approach proposed in these resources provide policymakers and implementers with tools to focus resources and health provider attention on nutrition actions while taking a holistic view of primary health care financing and payment,” said Cheryl Cashin, a managing director at R4D. “It is a practical way to prioritize nutrition and make it visible in health financing arrangements to increase accountability for coverage and quality of nutrition services.” 

The overview document, developed by the WHO, examines strategic purchasing of nutrition services within PHC. It introduces key terms and payment methods for countries to use in preparing to transform their health financial systems to scale up nutrition services. It does so by introducing nutritional perspectives to strategic health purchasing core areas: what to buy, from whom to buy and how to buy  

What to buy covers how nutrition services should be prioritized and provides further understanding of nutrition service characteristics with examples and tools to assist decision-makers in deciding what to buy. From whom to buy describes providers and how decision-makers should select providers relevant to their nutrition services through contractual means and accreditation. How to buy introduces the various payment methods and describes recent research on nutrition services and payment schemes.

The document on the diagnostic assessment approach, developed by R4D, aims to strengthen the understanding of how nutrition services can be incentivized within purchasing arrangements for PHC to improve the quality, coverage and efficiency. It proposes a diagnostic approach for the systematic assessment of how nutrition services are purchased within existing health purchasing arrangements. The approach can be used by country teams to document and assess the place of nutrition in broader PHC purchasing arrangements, within a tested, established PHC purchasing framework. It provides four steps and 28 guiding questions to help governments and other stakeholders become more strategic in purchasing nutrition services within PHC.  

“Integrating essential nutrition actions within routine PHC services is important for comprehensive care, and this can only be achieved through sustainable financing,” said Mary D’Alimonte, a program director at R4D. “This tool is a huge step forward in identifying practical solutions countries can take to make financing for essential nutrition actions within PHC more strategic and sustainable. By following these steps, countries can dive deeper into understanding pathways toward more strategic use of funds in ways that avoid fragmentation and siloed programming.”

These publications were developed to ensure that nutrition services are not left behind — by increasing knowledge and building further understanding of strategic purchasing for nutrition services.


About Results for Development
Results for Development (R4D) is a leading non-profit global development partner. We collaborate with change agents — government officials, civil society leaders and social innovators — supporting them as they navigate complex change processes to achieve large-scale, equitable outcomes in health, education and nutrition. We work with country leaders to diagnose challenges, co-create, innovate and implement solutions built on evidence and diverse stakeholder input, and engage in learning to adapt, iterate and improve. We also strengthen global, regional and country ecosystems to support country leaders with expertise, evidence, and innovations. R4D helps country leaders solve their immediate challenges today, while also strengthening systems and institutions to address tomorrow’s challenges. And we share what we learn so others around the world can achieve results for development too.   

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