Africa Nutrition Database Initiative Website

On Data Use

ANDI data can be freely used providing that reference be made to ANDI itself, to the source agencies or to both.

On data quality

ANDI use to be updated based on data coming from different UN agencies. Each agency is supposed to carry out a quality control and to supply ANDI with update data 3 or 4 times a year. Data quality is a specific responsibility of each agency: specific notes on each indicator are available on line. ANDI manager was available to receive comments, complaints and/or suggestions on data quality: they will be transferred to the appropriate person inside each agency.


The major objective of the ANDI was to establish a low cost system to facilitate quick access to good quality nutrition data for African countries. Difficulties in accessing data, duplication of efforts, uncertain data quality and infrequent updating characterize many nutrition databases. These difficulties often resulted in incorrect or ineffective use of data, a lack of database credibility, a waste of resources and failure to provide the user with easily accessible and reliable information. The ANDI represented a concerted effort to rectify this situation by standardizing the use of available data across the UN Agencies to ensure data quality and comparability, improve effectiveness in updating and data sharing. The ANDI contributed to easier access to good quality and updated data to define trends in the nutrition situation and facilitate analysis leading to better planning of strategies to improve nutrition in Africa. 


The ANDI efforts to construct a common database on nutrition indicators is coordinated by the ACC/SCN and is contributed by several UN Agencies including the World Bank, FAO, UNICEF,UNESCO , and WHO. The strategies to achieve the ANDI objectives have include: 

  1. Selection and clear definition of the indicators, and of the quality control criteria;
  2. Identification and evaluation of existing data sources;
  3. Establishment of mechanisms to coordinate the contribution of the participating agencies in providing the data on the indicators for which each agency is responsible;
  4. Provision of mechanisms to regularly update the common database with the data coming from the participating agency and to provide access to the common database to the participating agencies.
  5. Provision of a query engine to facilitate the proper use of the data (this is provided only to those agencies who may request it).

Results achieved 

The ANDI had been financed by the World Bank through the KNIT Unit (now KLC) and the Italian Trust Fund; and has been coordinated by the ACC/SCN. The ACC/SCN has convened two meetings at WHO Geneva in June and September 1997 to which several UN agencies participated to discuss methodological and implementation aspects. Specific results obtained after the two meetings include: (a) preparation of a methodological paper, (b) agreement on indicators, quality control criteria and type of updating software required to implement ANDI; (c) evaluation of various nutrition databases, (d) finalization of the updating engine, (e) contribution to a broader Food Insecurity and Vulnerability Mapping System (FIVIMS) promoted by FAO; (f) more inter-agency coordination in data sharing in Nutrition which has been concretized into a Memorandum of Understanding which has been signed by the participating agencies with the exception of WHO. The MOU establish the responsibilities of each agency in providing the key indicators to update the common database; and (g) a web site to access ANDI data. 

Next Steps 

This initial exploratory phase ended in January 1999. The pilot, lasted two years, will evaluate the maintenance system in terms of functionality and costs. This will include the updating of the nutrition indicators through the update engine, the solving of technical problems that may arise, the checking of the internet links that are subject to changes, the maintenance of the contact across the participating agencies and any trouble shooting that may be needed.

Depending on the funds available, the following steps could be part of the pilot: 

  1. ANDI would be expanded to other regions beyond Africa. This will entail establishing contact with the decision makers of other regions within the participating agencies, the identification of the data sources and the adaptation of the coding system existing in other regions.
  2. The inclusion of nutrition indicators not yet part of the ANDI1. The ANDI has divided the indicators into core and non-core to be further evaluated such as the micronutrient indicators. Technical discussions with the database managers of these indicators will help to find out the modalities to include them among the core indicators.
  3. A strategy paper on how to set up a health database on the Africa Region. The paper will propose methodological criteria required to build a common database for health indicators for Africa, the possible data-sources to be linked and the coordination mechanisms to be used to build a health indicators database for Africa on the model already tested in the ANDI common database. This will include the identification of the role of WHO, UNICEF and other agencies in updating the health indicators according to the quality control criteria as it has been already established for the nutrition indicators. The same update, feeding and query engine already tested in the ANDI could used to provide the updating and the presentation of the data in table format and maps.

Inter-agency annual meetings will be held at the end of the first and second year at WHO Geneva. These will be used to take stock of the ANDI experience, fine tuning the ANDI methodology, discuss the possibility to add indicators that are still under study and not yet incorporated in the ANDI, discuss implementation mechanisms and next steps. During the meetings, the possibility of allowing universal access of the HN database through the Internet will be also discussed. 

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1At the moment the following indicators are included: underweight, wasting and stunting of children under five years of age; chronic energy deficiency among adults; exclusive breastfeeding; iodine deficiency measured through total goiter rate, urinary iodine, salt iodine coverage; food availability measured through per capita daily energy supply and % underfed; demographic indicators of under 5 mortality rate, total fertility rate, average annual population growth rate and population structure; health indicators in terms of vaccination coverage, diarrhea and acute respiratory infection prevalence; net enrollment ratio in primary schools and female literacy rate; per capita GDP and GNP; access to safe water and sanitation. socio-economic, demographic and food supply indicators.