The Dynamics of Nutrition Research in West Africa: Tracking the Evidence: Evidence Note

This note is intended for use by the research community and by wider audiences including decisionmakers such as program designer/coordinators, and policymakers. Findings revealed that the research dynamics for nutrition are unevenly distributed across West African countries, with the most evidence on nutrition being available to Anglophone countries. Though the included publications are of high quality, the majority remains observational with far fewer reporting on effective policies and programs. Our findings indicate that in the West Africa region, undernutrition remains a high priority for children under five and for women of reproductive age, while overweight/obesity in children, adolescents, and adults is increasingly receiving attention, especially in Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, and Ghana. In Nigeria, publications address the double burden of malnutrition, with more coverage of overnutrition than of undernutrition across all population groups except children under five. The highest number of policy studies included were conducted on diet-related NCDs and overweight/obesity, with fewer publications covering program interventions on undernutrition, anemia, and micronutrient deficiency. Across the region, with regard to overweight/obesity and diet-related NCDs, there is a clear need to focus research on the translation of policy into intervention programs. The visualization tool is a potentially important information source for decisionmakers as it allows for easy access to each individual study including its quality assessment and reported outcomes, and easy location of studies focused on a particular outcome or country of interest. (The evidence in this note is presented in an online visualization format available here.)