Poster Topical Area: Global Nutrition
Location: Hall D
Poster Board Number: 594
One of the highest ranking countries with stunting rates in Africa is Malawi, where 37% of children under 5 years (<5 children) of age are stunted. Such a high stunting rate is often attributed to poor infant and young child feeding knowledge and practices among caregivers.
Objective: We promoted low cost nutritious diet (LCND) in rural communities in Malawi, for three months and then conducted a survey among caregivers of <5 children to assess acceptability and to explore the issues related to acceptability of LCND.
Method: Within communities where we promoted the LCND, 30 clusters were selected by Probability Proportion to Size method and from each cluster 15 eligible caregivers of <5 children were randomly sampled. All 450 respondents were interviewed, after taking informed consent, by trained interviewers using structured questionnaire. Study protocol was approved by Malawi National Health Science Research Council, the local IRB in Malawi.
Results: More than half of the respondents had knowledge on benefits of LCND [LCNDs are rich in vitamins (56.9%); LCND can prevent diseases (56.4%); eating LCND helps in child growth (56%); LCND provides energy (56%)]. Another 52% respondents knew about potential health risks of not taking nutritious diets. Their responses included: diarrheal diseases (57.8%); vitamin deficiency (56.5%); stunting/growth retardation (56.5%); blindness (56.3%); frequent illness (55.8%) among their <5 children. About 58% caregivers fed their children the LCND every day and almost all (99%) caregivers informed that they would continue feeding LCND to their children and are planning to cultivate LCND crops. Majority (52%) of respondent caregivers mentioned that the ingredients of LCND were inexpensive.
Conclusion: Our study findings suggest to emphasize on promotion of similar LCND and follow-up with the caregivers within communities with resource constraints. Developing and disseminating customized communication messages to encourage cultivating LCND specific crops and rearing of animals might help sustainability of such LCND initiative. Further research to explore the long term effect of LCND (e.g., reduction of stunting and cognitive growth) among <5 children population would also help relevant advocacy within targeted communities.
Senior Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning (MEAL) Manager
Save the Children International Malawi
Lilongwe, Lilongwe, Malawi