This article examines a multi-sectoral approach used by HPI to implement the ZIFAS project to scale up micronutrient supplementation in northern Nigeria. ZIFAS began as a collaboration between the Micronutrient Initiative and the Partnership for Reviving Routine Immunisation in Northern Nigeria/Maternal Newborn Child Health (PRRINN/MNCH). ZIFAS built on the platform of PRRINN/MNCH, supporting efforts in women’s empowerment, governance and health system strengthening and working in the same states, to develop and implement integrated strategies to improve quality and use of Zinc, low-osmolality oral rehydration salts (Lo-ORS) for diarrhoea in children and low dose and iron and folic acid supplements for pregnant women.
An innovative policy framework coupled with demand and supply side interventions was introduced to scale up coverage and use of Zinc/Lo-ORS and IFAS. . As well as managing the ZIFAS programme, HPI also enhanced the enabling environment for nutrition action through improving service delivery systems, governance and community engagement in health and financing. By adopting a health system strengthening approach and building on initiatives implemented by PRRINN/MNCH, ZIFAS was able to promote the long-term sustainable supply of essential commodities in the public health system. ZIFAS used an innovative integrated extensive community-engagement approach which facilitated a significant scale up of nutrition interventions.
The article concludes that this type of comprehensive programming promotes efficiency through the implementation of mutually beneficial interventions and life-cycle approaches to individuals and their health providing greater value for money and more sustainable impact. The PRRINN/MNCH programme’s wide-ranging approach to health systems strengthening contributed to positive changes in a challenging setting, which enabled ZIFAS and other programmes to build on this foundation and achieve faster and more suitable results.
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