Micronutrient Supplementation for Children in Food Insecure Districts (Dolpa, Jumla and Rukum) (Completed, 2009)

This study was launched under the aegis of MaxProPvt.Limited with support from World Food Programme to assess the knowledge, practice and coverage of Micronutrient Powder (MNP) supplementation intervention in food insecure districts of Dolpa, Jumla and Rukum. The MNP supplementation is given to children 6-59 months of households participating food/cash for work activities in order to improve the nutritional quality of their food.  MNP are sachets containing vitamins and minerals in powder form, which are easily sprinkled onto foods prepared in homes.  Any homemade food can be instantly fortified by adding MNP. Coating of the micronutrients prevents changes to the taste, colour or texture of the food to which MNP are added.

The study included 606 mothers/caretakers as respondents who were either currently feeding or just recently completed feeding MNP Sachets to their 877 children aged 6-59 months. A two- stage cluster sample was adopted with probability proportional to households who had received MNP Sachets. To augment the quantitative findings, qualitative information was also collected through in-depth interviews with relevant stakeholders.

Overall, 67.4 percent children who received MNP consumed 80 percent or more MNP since they started feeding MNP to the date of interview. The MNP intervention clearly meets the standard that 60 percent children receiving MNP consume 80 percent MNP. However, consumption compliance varied by district. It was the highest in Jumla where 89.6 percent children receiving MNP consumed 80 percent and over MNP followed by Rukum (62.2 percent) and Dolpa (50.0 percent). Overall, people in the community like MNP. Parents feel that the children have become stronger and sharp/active after taking MNP. They feel that the incidence of infection and other problems like diarrhoea, ARI has decreased after the use of MNP. Since MNP is free of cost, people are positive about its use among the children.

Recommendations

  • It is essential that the MNP distributed to households is properly monitored to ensure effective and consistent use of MNP. However, it was found that less than 30 percent of mothers/caretakers were monitored.
  • The distribution of MNP should also consider the time when there is an outbreak of diarrhoea or ARI or other childhood diseases.
  • Majority of the respondents recommended that the programme needs to provide more knowledge about MNP to mothers and caretakers. A little over one-quarter (27.7%) also suggested that the supply of MNP Sachets should be made more regular.
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