The nutrition assessment, counseling, and support (NACS) approach aims to improve the nutritional status of individuals and populations by integrating nutrition into policies, programs, and the health service delivery infrastructure. Improvement methods can help to strengthen the linkage between communities and points of care for nutritional services to improve the coverage, compliance, referral, and follow-up of people of all ages with special nutritional needs, including pregnant and lactating women, young children, and persons living with HIV or tuberculosis.
Integrating nutrition support into existing health services can be challenging. Health care providers may lack the technical knowledge and skills to deliver the correct care; high staff turnover make one-off training in nutrition assessment and follow-up unsustainable; low staff numbers make it hard for clinics to handle the increased workload required to integrate a new service into their already busy clinics; and supply chain issues mean that supplies of specialized food products are not always available at clinics. These challenges can be addressed by improvement interventions to build technical skills, improve the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery, and strengthen data systems at all levels.