Clockwise from top-left: Dr. Kerri Wazny from CIFF, Dr. Shivangi Kaushik, host company logos, and Jana Daher from Action Against Hunger. Photo credit: URC

The ever-evolving landscape of global health nutrition constantly seeks fresh, innovative strategies to meet its dynamic challenges. At a recent symposium hosted by URC and Mercy Corps, “BREAKING NEW GROUND: The Latest Advances in Integrated Nutrition Programming” novel advances like AI, machine learning, gender-sensitive tactics, and private sector participation were explored.

AI is transforming the malnutrition fight. Panelist Dr. Shivangi Kaushik spotlighted the Child Growth Monitor app’s potential, which uses AI to detect children at risk of stunting. Applications also include assessing food quality through photos and feeding interventions, as exhibited by UNICEF and Vietnam’s National School Feeding Program.

Machine learning aids nutrition research by predicting malnutrition risks and guiding targeted interventions. By analyzing extensive health, lifestyle, and environmental data, these tools provide insights for early detection and diagnosis. Dr. Kerri Wazny from CIFF and Jana Daher from Action Against Hunger shared their experiences leveraging machine learning for nutrition research.

Private sector participation is also crucial in combating malnutrition. Companies like Sight and Life are creating products to improve nutrition, while hashtags like #EatHealthyAsia are promoting healthy habits.

Gender sensitivity is key in nutrition policy, and panelists emphasized considering gender differences in nutritional needs and addressing systemic inequalities.

The symposium echoed the 2023 WHO guidelines on malnutrition prevention and management, which for the first time in a decade, address both severe and moderate malnutrition in children.

The symposium emphasized the importance of AI, machine learning, gender-sensitive, context-specific approaches, and WHO guidelines in addressing malnutrition. URC and Mercy Corps’ nutrition initiatives reflect this commitment, utilizing these cutting-edge approaches to achieve better nutrition outcomes.