Back to CESC

Water-Food-Nutrition-Health Nexus: Linking Water to Improving Food, Nutrition and Health in Sub-Saharan Africa


International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health


Tafadzwanashe Mabhaudhi

Tendai Chibarabada

Albert Modi


6 January 2016

Whereas sub-Saharan Africa’s (SSA) water scarcity, food, nutrition and health challenges are well-documented, efforts to address them have often been disconnected. Given that the region continues to be affected by poverty and food and nutrition insecurity at national and household levels, there is a need for a paradigm shift in order to effectively deliver on the twin challenges of food and nutrition security under conditions of water scarcity. There is a need to link water use in agriculture to achieve food and nutrition security outcomes for improved human health and well-being. Currently, there are no explicit linkages between water, agriculture, nutrition and health owing to uncoordinated efforts between agricultural and nutrition scientists. There is also a need to develop and promote the use of metrics that capture aspects of water, agriculture, food and nutrition. This review identifiies nutritional water productivity as a suitable index for measuring the impact of a water-food-nutrition-health nexus. Socio-economic factors are also considered as they influence food choices in rural communities.