Using mobile phones for nutrition surveillance: a review of evidence

Using mobile phones for nutrition surveillance: a review of evidence

Nutrition surveillance - or the systematic and periodic collection of information on nutrition - is vital to the capacity of governments and other agencies to track their progress towards reducing undernutrition, to promoting the accountability of their actions and to improving their ability to respond promptly to rapid changes in nutrition status brought about by food price volatility and other shocks.
 
However, nutrition surveillance is expensive and logistically laborious and therefore often non-existent in resource-low countries. Surveillance systems are also constrained by time consuming and error prone paper-based data collection followed by manual data entry.
 
Mobile phone technologies could help to address many of these challenges. The potential benefits of using mobile phones for surveillance are:
  • lower costs of data collection and transfer
  • faster data transmission, analysis and dissemination
  • improved data quality
  • more transparent and inclusive data collection processes with the possibility of immediate feedback to households and communities
This report sets out to critically review the evidence base on the impact of using mobile phone technology for nutrition (and other) surveillance. By doing so, the report can offer a starting point for international donors, local practitioners and others who consider the application of mobile phones to facilitate surveillance. The evidence review also aims to identify gaps in the current knowledge base and to highlight areas where future research and analysis are necessary.
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