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Challenges and solutions (1/2)

Though the dashboard template is meant to help produce a tailored sub-national dashboard quickly and easily, there are of course a number of challenges, of which the main ones are discussed in the following pages:

  1. How to select the indicators of the dashboard
  2. Data availability at sub-national level
  3. How to ensure data quality
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Challenge 1: How to select the indicators of the dashboard

The NIPN Dashboard template is based on a set of indicators derived from the Lancet Nutrition Framework and the SUN MEAL system.
This list of indicators can / should be adapted or completed based on:

  • National or sub-national nutrition priorities.
  • Availability of data. Many of the indicators in the dashboard are selected because of their availability in Demographic Health Surveys (DHS). However, specific national surveys may exist which contain other relevant indicators. It is worth exploring these possibilities. The Data Landscape Exercise (see section 3.1) may offer a good starting point.

It is strongly recommended that the number of domains and indicators are restricted to enhance the visual quality and readability of the dashboard and to ensure that key messages are highlighted.
In other words, use its flexibility and make the dashboard context-specific but keep it simple to deliver a strong and clear message.

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Challenge 2: Data availability at sub-national level

Most of the indicators in the dashboard are available in the standard DHS & Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS), which are based on representative samples of the population at the sub-national level. This is, however, not the case for all data available.
Financial investment information in relation to nutrition is often not available at national nor sub-national level. Meaningful proxy indicators can be elaborated based on the data available (for example, % of budget spent on health per region or total amount invested in a national IYCF programme per region per stunted child).
Similarly, with regard to underlying and basic determinants, there is no global standard for essential nutrition-sensitive interventions impacting these determinants and thus it is a challenge to identify meaningful indicators. Each country should identify relevant and meaningful indicators for its own situation (for example, a country with an established social protection programme may want to include the coverage of that specific programme).
When data for key indicators are not available, the NIPN team can choose to:

  • Include it in the dashboard as “missing information” to highlight the need to include this indicator in the Monitoring and Information System, or a specific survey.
  • Replace the indicator by a ‘proxy’ indicator.