Shekar, M., et al., Reaching the global target to reduce stunting: an investment framework. Health Policy Plan, 2017. 32(5): p. 657-668.

 Abstract

Childhood stunting, being short for one’s age, has life-long consequences for health, human capital and economic growth. Being stunted in early childhood is associated with slower cognitive development, reduced schooling attainment and adult incomes decreased by 5–53%. The World Health Assembly has endorsed global nutrition targets including one to reduce the number of stunted children under five by 40% by 2025. The target has been included in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG target 2.2). This paper estimates the cost of achieving this target and develops scenarios for generating the necessary financing. We focus on a key intervention package for stunting (KIPS) with strong evidence of effectiveness. Annual scale-up costs for the period of 2016–25 were estimated for a sample of 37 high burden countries and extrapolated to all low and middle income countries. The Lives Saved Tool was used to model the impact of the scale-up on stunting prevalence. We analysed data on KIPS budget allocations and expenditure by governments, donors and households to derive a global baseline financing estimate. We modelled two financing scenarios, a ‘business as usual’, which extends the current trends in domestic and international financing for nutrition through 2025, and another that proposes increases in financing from all sources under a set of burden-sharing rules. The 10-year financial need to scale up KIPS is US$49.5 billion. Under ‘business as usual’, this financial need is not met and the global stunting target is not reached. To reach the target, current financing will have to increase from US$2.6 billion to US$7.4 billion a year on average. Reaching the stunting target is feasible but will require large coordinated investments in KIPS and a supportive enabling environment. The example of HIV scale-up over 2001–11 is instructive in identifying the factors that could drive such a global response to childhood stunting

 

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