Promoting Child Growth and Development in the Sustainable Development Goals Era: Is It Time for New Thinking?
Growth monitoring and promotion (GMP) programs have been implemented worldwide for decades. Consistent evidence of their effectiveness is lacking and complicated by design and operational differences. Nevertheless, tracking child growth and development is a fundamental component of routine preventive child health care, and governments in 178 countries implement some form of GMP. This article makes the point that despite implementation challenges, there is a compelling need for GMP. It enables a crucial dialogue with families and communities about how to support the healthy growth and development of their children and can be a powerful tool for stimulating action and accountability for child nutrition and development at household, community, subnational, and national levels. We propose that GMP deserves a fresh rethink, with a paradigm shift that tailors GMP programs and activities for different development, geographic, and cultural contexts and considers how to optimize implementation for scalability.