Bridging barriers to advance multisector approaches to improve food security, nutrition and population health in Nepal: transdisciplinary perspectives

Santosh Gaihre* (Corresponding Author), Janet Kyle, Sean Semple, Jo Smith, Debbi Marais, Madhu Subedi, Heather May Morgan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Understanding stakeholders’ perceptions is crucial to the development and implementation of any intervention. However, a structured approach to eliciting stakeholder insights into complex, multisectorissues of food security, household environment and health islacking in many low and middle-income countries. This qualitative, workshop-based participatory study explores stakeholders’ experiences of developing and implementing multisector interventions to provide transdisciplinary lessons for future developments in low and middle-income countries. Methods: Participants were purposely selected based on their involvement in, or exposure to, the multisector intervention. Participants with interests in agriculture, nutrition, household air-quality, drinking water-quality and health from academic institutes, government and developmental organisations were brought together at a one-day workshop to participate in a series of discussions on issues relating to food security, nutrition, household environment and health in Nepal. All group discussions were audio-recorded and transcribed, and a thematic qualitative analysis performed to identify relevant themes. Results: The government’s ongoing Multisector Nutrition Plan, stakeholders’ willingness to work together, availability of local infrastructure for cross-institutional inputs and increasing global movement towards transdisciplinary approaches were identified by the 33 workshop participants, representing 23 organisations as key factors determining success of transdisciplinary work. Fragmentation, lack of research-based and practice-based evidence, limited transdisciplinary knowledge amongst sectoral stakeholders, short-term funding and lack of knowledge-sharing mechanisms were identified as barriers, often creating systematic problems for successful implementation. Stakeholders suggested methods to bring about success included: improved knowledge, both amongst policy-makers and implementers, of food security and its linkage with nutrition, household environments, health and hygiene; investment in collaborative practice-based research and evidence-based practice; and strengthened transdisciplinary collaboration between multi-stakeholders, such as researchers, implementers and beneficiaries, throughout the intervention development and implementation process. Conclusions: This study suggests that multisector approach needs to adapt to take into account the experiences and views of the stakeholders concerned. The paper offers recommendations for successful development and implementation of future multisector interventions in Nepal that can be extrapolated to other low and middle-income countries, and lays foundations for future transdisciplinary working to support realisation of the recommendations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number961
JournalBMC Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

We are grateful to Mr Min Raj Gyawali, Program Officer (Nutrition), National Planning Commission and Mr Giri Raj Subedi, Chief, Nutrition Section, Child Health Division, Nepal Government for their kind support during the participant recruitment and transdisciplinary workshop delivery in Kathmandu, Nepal. We would like to thank Mr Naniram Timalsina and Miss Sirjana Devkota for their help during the workshop. We would also like to thank Professor Geraldine McNeill, University of Aberdeen for her insightful comments that improved the manuscript. We are grateful to all the participants for their active participation and contributions in group discussion. The authors accept full responsibility for this paper.


  • Transdisciplinary
  • multisector
  • intervention
  • food security
  • nutrition
  • health
  • low and middle-income countries
  • Intervention
  • Nutrition
  • Health
  • Multisector
  • Food security
  • Low and middle-income countries


Dive into the research topics of 'Bridging barriers to advance multisector approaches to improve food security, nutrition and population health in Nepal: transdisciplinary perspectives'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this