Perspectives on the coordination of multisectoral nutrition in Mozambique and an emerging framework

Un article de Mme Isabelle Michaud-Létourneau, membre du RRSPQ et David Louis Pelletier, sélectionné par le RS Politiques publiques et santé des populations lors de son dernier concours de soutien à la publication en open access. Food Policy 70(2017) 84-97.

Résumé des auteurs:

"Multisectoral approaches represent a prominent ideological consensus, influenced by historical roots and the current political, financial and institutional landscape, to address the multi-faceted and complex causes of most nutrition, public health and food problems. However, the implementation of multisectoral approaches presents tremendous challenges; one of the most often cited problems, in the literature and by practitioners, is coordination. This study investigates the perspectives of key national leaders on a range of issues regarding the coordination of a Multisectoral Action Plan for the Reduction of Chronic Undernutrition (PAMRDC) in Mozambique. Within this policy group, the principal researcher played the role of a researcher-participant for 14 months, and used Q methodology with a total of 21 key national leaders who had been actively engaged in coordination groups at the central level. Participants sorted 54 subjective statements on a range of issues that were present in the current national discourse. The results revealed four distinct perspectives. The Implementation perspective (n = 12) prioritized concrete actions to advance the operationalization of the plan, based on a guidance-based approach from the central level to the lower administrative levels. The Advocacy perspective (n = 3) emphasized advocacy to increase politicians’ awareness of the problem and of potential solutions to enhance political commitment. The Structuralist perspective (n = 3) was concerned with the development of structures and mechanisms to facilitate coordination, funding and improving communication between the government and donors. The People-centered perspective (n = 3) focused on the importance of mobilizing individuals to compensate for the sub-optimal structures and processes for coordination. Areas of convergence across the perspectives included: low capacity and skills that limit the work; the agency in charge of coordination (SETSAN) should exercise an increased leadership to facilitate the multisectoral work; and SETSAN should advocate to mobilize politicians and donors for resources. Areas of divergence related to the type of guidance from national to sub-national levels (prescriptive or not) and the functions to be carried out by SETSAN. This study highlights lack of clarity on the meaning of coordination and on the functions of the multisectoral coordination body that appear to arise for two reasons: the lack of an explicit and shared framework for the policy process and the complex nature of coordination itself. These results are examined through the lenses of several related literatures, including governance, public policy and political economy of nutrition, leading to a three-dimensional conceptual framework for coordination that distinguishes the coordination space, forms, and instruments. Global guidance, such as provided through the SUN movement, could support countries in overcoming their coordination challenges by facilitating an analysis of their decision-making processes in order to choose the functions for the coordination body based on a shared understanding of countries’ needs, context and opportunities. This paper moves the field beyond a broad consideration of horizontal and vertical coordination within multisectoral initiatives."