Blaauw R, Achar E, Dolman RC The problem of hospital malnutrition in the African continent. Nutrients. 2019; 11:(9)

Chimera B, Potani I, Daniel AI, Chatenga H Clinical nutrition care challenges in low-resource settings during the COVID-19 pandemic: a focus on Malawi. J Glob Health. 2020; 10:(2)

Gallegos D Global challenges and opportunities for dietitians. Nutr Diet. 2020; 77:(2)179-181

Hickson M, Child J, Collinson A A case study of the impact of a dietitian in the multi-disciplinary team within primary care: a service evaluation. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2023; 36:(5)1760-1770

Miyoba N, Musowoya J, Mwanza E Nutritional risk and associated factors of adult in-patients at a teaching hospital in the Copperbelt province in Zambia; a hospital-based cross-sectional study. BMC Nutr. 2018; 4

Siddiqui F, Salam RA, Lassi ZS, Das JK The intertwined relationship between malnutrition and poverty. Front Public Health. 2020; 8

Sodjinou R, Bosu WK, Fanou N A systematic assessment of the current capacity to act in nutrition in West Africa: cross-country similarities and differences. Glob Health Action. 2014; 7

Stratton R Nurses are ideally placed to spot malnutrition in vulnerable patients. Br J Nurs. 2023; 32

United Nations. The 17 goals. 2024. https// (accessed 8 April 2024)

World Health Organization. Global nutrition policy review 2016–2017: country progress in creating enabling policy environments for promoting healthy diets and nutrition. 2018. https// (accessed 8 April 2024)

World Food Programme. A global food crisis. 2024. https// (accessed 8 April 2024)

Capacity strengthening for clinical nutrition in Zambia: a roadmap for success in tackling undernutrition

18 April 2024
Volume 33 · Issue 8

Clinical nutrition is a complex science that constantly changes in response to the changing burden of disease and new evidence (Gallegos, 2020). An issue often ‘hidden in plain sight’ is that patients in hospital are at risk of undernutrition and, unless proactive nutrition assessments, such as the Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool (MUST) and interventions are made, this unnoticed problem will continue to be associated with increased complications, infections, longer lengths of stay, higher costs (both at micro and macro levels), and higher mortality (Blaauw et al, 2019. Stratton, 2023).

For individuals and families in low-income countries (LIC) this is further compounded by chronic poverty and food insecurity (Siddiqui et al, 2020). As the World Food Programme (2024) has pointed out, in 2023, an estimated 333 million people experienced acute levels of food insecurity, with individuals not knowing where their next meal was coming from. In consequence, people admitted to hospital may already be undernourished and, from the limited literature available in sub-Saharan Africa, Miyoba et al (2018) identified that more than 60% of adult inpatients in Zambia were at nutritional risk.

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting British Journal of Nursing and reading some of our peer-reviewed resources for nurses. To read more, please register today. You’ll enjoy the following great benefits:

What's included

  • Limited access to clinical or professional articles

  • Unlimited access to the latest news, blogs and video content