Getting the Knack of NACS

In by Avani Duggaraju

Click the following to view the:
Meeting Report

NACS: Opening Remarks from CORE Group on Vimeo.

Getting the Knack of NACS was a two-day state of the art (SOTA) meeting aimed at taking stock of progress since the Nutrition Assessment, Counseling and Support (NACS) meeting held in Jinja, Uganda in 2010; examining the evidence base to date; and further advancing the state-of-the-art on NACS in the context of HIV, and health care more broadly.  NACS is an organizing framework that is client-centered and emphasizes nutrition assessment, counseling and support. NACS brings together existing nutritional services, protocols and actors along the continuum of care, with referrals and effective coordination for optimal quality and impact.

Getting the Knack of NACS builds upon the theme of integration which has been high on the agenda for CORE Group for some time, and this meeting represents an effort by CORE Group’s HIV/AIDS and Nutrition Working Groups to demonstrate that integration should not only occur programmatically, but likewise through the creation of collaborative processes for discussion, debate and learning. The involvement of TOPS and the Food Security and Nutrition (FSN) Network further underscores the interest of the US NGO community in deconstructing the funding and operating silos that have built up around HIV, health and nutrition over time, and replacing them with mechanisms that reach across sectoral boundaries.

The SOTA meeting aimed to provide an overview of current thinking and predominant issues surrounding the design, implementation and evaluation of NACS programming. Tapping into a carefully selected team of academic and programmatic experts, the event covered a range of emerging science, technical content and program experience, as well as providing a venue for in-depth information exchange. The specific objectives of the SOTA meeting were to:

  • Review emerging science informing the NACS approach
  • Provide an overview of the technical content of NACS delivery
  • Share promising practice and field experience for NACS implementation
  • Explore ideas for strengthening linkages and integration with other programming.
  • Contribute to advancing the NACS SOTA through working group discussions

One hundred three participants from 48 organizations attended the SOTA meeting. Participants included CORE Group members and the TOPS FSN Nutrition Network, along with other key nutrition and HIV audiences, including representatives from US government agencies, UN agencies, HIV and nutrition implementing agencies, and agencies providing technical assistance to implementers. The vast majority of participants were US-based technical staff in the areas of nutrition and/or HIV. Some of the country programs where NACS is being implemented were also represented, including Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Uganda and Zambia.

The SOTA meeting applied a range of formats, including plenary discussions, power point presentations, panel discussions, interviews with experts using a talk-show format, and working group sessions in smaller group. Rapporteurs were used to document all of the proceedings, in addition to audio and video recording managed by FHI 360. On the final afternoon, rapporteurs and facilitators from all six groups presented back to plenary with brief summaries of their sessions, followed by a short Q&A and discussion. Finally, the two-day event ended with some general conclusions and clarifying statements regarding what NACS is and how it fits into the big picture of health and nutrition programming on a global basis.  For a complete summary document of the SOTA meeting, including session-by-session video clips, power point presentations and related documents, including the agenda and participant list, click here.

To view the full list of videos from the meeting, click here.

To view the full list of presentations from the meeting, click here.