KIT’s contribution to the Urban Health and malnutrition debate


19 September 2013News urban health debate
At the upcoming NVTG-symposium, ‘Sick cities or healthy habitats?’ on October 16, KIT’s Albertien van der Veen and Anke van der Kwaak will present results of KIT research in urban areas.

Since 2011, KIT is investing capital and human resources in building knowledge on urban health and nutrition. KIT nowadays actively participates in the Dutch debate on Urban Health and Nutrition.

The issue

For the first time ever, more people world-wide live in cities than in rural areas. The urban population in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) nearly doubled during the last twenty years. More than 60% of these live in slums. The majority is poor, health problems are common and about a third of the population is chronically undernourished. At the same time, obesity and overweight in particular amongst urban poor women and pre-school children is rapidly increasing. An unfavourable shift in consumption patterns poses threats and increasing costs for the health of an ever growing urban population.

Women and children in Kenya

In Kisumu, Kenya, KIT, in close collaboration with Bondo University College, has been doing research on food and nutrition security among women with young children living in poor urban informal settlements. Results were used for value chain mapping and analysis, aimed at identifying sustainable, gender sensitive value chains interventions involving culturally acceptable, nutritious food commodities. KIT recently entered a partnership with Cordaid to implement these interventions, further collect evidence on best practices, costs and possibilities for scaling. Earlier this year KIT facilitated a workshop with potential stakeholders interested in public-private partnerships.

KIT’s track record

Since 2011, KIT has increased its activities on food related health problems in urban areas. KIT combines in-house capacity in agriculture, value chains, gender and health and develops evidence-based models for food-based strategies to reduce malnutrition in urban areas; in particular in Sub-Saharan Africa. KIT is an active member of the Netherlands Working Group on Nutrition (NWGN), a platform of Dutch civil society organizations, knowledge institutes and the private sector working in the field of international nutrition and food security. KIT also contributes to the NWGN-symposium on October 11th at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs to inform and create awareness about the latest scientific evidence and international consensus with regard to nutrition.

NVTG-symposium on October 16

The NVTG symposium is a collaborative effort between Uniting Streams, the Dutch Society of Tropical Medicine & International Health (NVTG), the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), the Public Health Services of Amsterdam (GGD-Amsterdam) and the association of Dutch tropical doctors-in-training (TROIE). It will bring together researchers, Public Health and Global Health Institutes and health-oriented NGOs around the complex and diverse subject of Urban Health.

Read more about the program and participation on