These briefs are part of a series on complementary feeding gaps by GAIN and UNICEF under the Regional Initiatives for Sustained Nutrition and Growth (RISING) project.
Improving young children's diets in South Asia contributes to the prevention of all forms of malnutrition, including micronutrient deficiencies, and is an important component of efforts to achieve the global nutrition targets of the World Health Assembly (WHA) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Identification of nutrient and dietary gaps during the complementary feeding period is essential to inform policies and programs designed to improve child health and nutrition. However, nationally-representative data specific to young children are usually only available for select nutrients and infrequently collected. Alternative sources of evidence can help fill data gaps, even if they are of lower quality, particularly when multiple sources point to the same nutrients of concern or dietary issues. Yet decision makers have little guidance on how to locate and interpret the evidence to identify the magnitude and significance of nutrient gaps in child diets, given the wide range of indicators used, diversity of data sources and population characteristics, and differences in severity of associated health outcomes. A Comprehensive Nutrient Gap Assessment (CONGA) meets this need by collating the evidence and rating the burden of nutrient gaps and certainty of evidence.
These briefs summarise the main food and micronutrient gaps identified from a CONGA conducted for Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, as part of a landscape analysis on complementary feeding in South Asia, and key policy and programmatic implications.