WHO nutrition guidance expert advisory group (NUGAG)

Monitoring and evaluation subgroup meeting on guidelines for the assessment of vitamin A and iron status in populations
15-17 September 2010, Panama City, Panama


In 1992 the World Health Assembly urged Member States to "establish, as part of the health and nutrition monitoring system, a micronutrient monitoring and evaluation system capable of assessing the magnitude and distribution of vitamin A and iron deficiency disorders and monitor the implementation and impact of control programmes".

Additionally, in the 2010 draft WHO Strategy on Research for Health, 'research for health' has been defined to cover five areas of activity, two of which include the measurement of the magnitude and distribution of a health problem and the evaluation of the impact of solutions or interventions on the level and distribution of a health problem. In order to assist Member States in establishing a micronutrient monitoring and evaluation system, WHO produces guidance on the use of indicators for assessing a population's vitamin and mineral status and the application of indicators for monitoring and evaluating intervention programmes.

The WHO Department of Nutrition for Health and Development (NHD), in partnership with the Department of Research, Policy and Cooperation (RPC) and other internal partners, established a WHO Nutrition Guidance Expert Advisory Group (NUGAG). In order to carry out the work of updating WHO guidelines for measuring the magnitude and distribution of malnutrition and evaluating the impact of solutions recommended through policies and programmes while understanding the level and distribution of the problem, a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Subgroup to NUGAG will be formed.

The membership of the NUGAG is established for the biennium and includes experts from various WHO Expert Advisory Panels and those identified through open calls for experts taking into consideration a balanced mix of genders, multiple disciplinary areas of expertise, and representation from all WHO Regions.

The NUGAG M&E Subgroup will implement a biannual programme of work in this area and meet face-to-face or virtually twice a year to provide advice on the following:

  • The scope of the guidelines and priority questions for which systematic reviews of evidence will be commissioned
  • The choice of important outcomes for decision-making and developing recommendations in nutrition surveillance
  • The interpretation of the evidence with explicit consideration of the overall balance of risks and benefits
  • The final drafting of formulating recommendations, taking into account existing evidence as well as diverse values and preferences

WHO is convening the first WHO NUGAG M&E Subgroup Meeting in Panama City from 15 to 17 September 2010 to initiate the process. A second meeting will take place in Atlanta, United States of America in August 2011 to review the evidence GRADE tables (Summary of Findings) and finalize the recommendations

Objectives of the first NUGAG Meeting (Panama City, 15-17 September 2010):

  • Formally launch the WHO NUGAG Monitoring and Evaluation Subgroup for 2010-2011.
  • Present the WHO Handbook for Guideline Development and GRADE methodology to be used in WHO guidance on the assessment of vitamin and mineral status in populations.
  • Review and finalize the scope, questions, priority outcomes and methods for the development of guidelines on the assessment of vitamin A and iron status in populations.

A call for public comments on the questions that the guidelines intend to address has been published on the WHO web site.

Meeting report

Financial Support

We would like to thank the following organizations for their financial support in the evidence-informed guideline process: The Government of Luxembourg, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with whom we have ongoing collaborations and established partnerships.