Why the first thousand days matter most

India’s National Nutrition Mission, or POSHAN Abhiyaan, recognizes the multisectoral nature of the challenge of malnutrition and identifies “convergence” as one of its key pillars. It looks at convergence between different ministries and departments at the national, state, district, block and village levels. Conventionally, convergence in nutrition has been understood as the provision of a common platform for different organizations and stakeholders to come together and ensure better coordination. “Effective convergence,” however, is the successful reach of nutrition-related programs from relevant sectors to address the key determinants of poor nutrition for the same household, same woman, and same child in the first 1,000 days from conception until the child’s second birthday.

In a recent commentary in the Economic & Political Weekly, a group of researchers from IFPRI and NITI Aayog illustrate how data on co-coverage of interventions can be used to plan for and assess the success of efforts to strengthen effective convergence.

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