A critical component of the nutrition data value chain is the link between data translation and decision making. Tools like profiles, scorecards, and dashboards can present data in a way that can be easily interpreted and persuasive in conveying key messages. However, to be effective, these tools must have a clear purpose and reflect the needs and preferences of their target audience including their data visualization literacy.
Through two data visual landscaping activities carried out at global level and in India, DataDENT has interviewed producers and users of these tools and assembled a set of recommendations to guide their design. We have applied these lessons in Nigeria with design of the Nigeria Governors Forum Nutrition Scorecard and In India with the Champions of Change Dashboard and the update of District Nutrition Profile (DNP). We share more about the India DNP experience here.
Updating the District Nutrition Profiles
India’s District Nutrition Profiles (DNPs)—co-developed by DataDENT, POSHAN, NITI-Aayog, and other national nutrition partners—provide a district-level snapshot of the population’s nutritional status and key determinants that map to the UNICEF nutrition framework (immediate determinants, coverage of direct interventions, underlying and basic determinants, multi sectoral interventions impacting basic and underlying determinants).
The profiles compile key indicators from multiple data sources for each of India’s 700+ districts and—to support their use by district decision makers—include questions that facilitate evidence-based discussions on what actions are needed in each district to improve nutrition.
The DNPs were first launched in 2018 and updated in 2022 using the National Family Health Survey-5 (NHFS-5) and other recently released data. As part of the update process, DataDENT conducted an indicator prioritization exercise that included the following steps:
- Review data availability in NFHS-4 and NFHS-5 against the indicators in the India nutrition indicator framework, released by DataDENT and partners in 2020\Conduct a preliminary analysis using available data to examine changes in nutrition outcomes within each district.
- Create a list of prioritized indicators (based on the nutrition indicator framework and data availability), reflecting key trends over NFHS data rounds.
- Convene data nutrition stakeholders – including DataDENT, POSHAN, UNICEF, IIPS, and NITI Aayog – to review and agree upon the final set of indicators.
The snapshots below highlight some of the key design features of the profiles that respond to decision maker needs.
For this round of profiles, the designers developed an automated template using Python. Once the format was agreed to, all DNPs were auto-generated from data compiled in excel/CSV.
All 707 profiles DNPs were published in March 2022.
In April POSHAN hosted a set of webinars called “Towards Progress on nutrition in India: Insights from National Family Health Survey-5 (Phase I & II)”. The webinars brought together national policy and program makers, research institutions, and implementing partners to showcase how data can be used to support policy and program decisions in India.
We encourage you to check out India’s profiles and consider how similar audience-specific tools might benefit decision makers in your context.