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Intrahousehold management and use of nutritional supplements during the hunger gap in Maradi region, Niger: a qualitative studyBACKGROUND: Nutritional supplements are used for preventing and treating childhood malnutrition. While there is a growing body of evidence on product efficacy, less emphasis has been placed on how they are perceived and used at the household level. Here, we report on the intrahousehold management of three different supplements (Ready to Use Supplementary food (RUSF), medium quantity lipid-based nutrient supplements (LNS-MQ) and Super Cereal Plus (SC+)) in the region of Maradi (Niger). The main objective of this study was to describe the use, consumption and perception of the three different nutritional products at the household level. METHODS: The study was conducted in the Madarounfa district in the region of Maradi (February - March 2012). Female caregivers were purposely selected from eligible households and invited to participate. Data were collected through focus group discussion and interviews and were analyzed using thematic content analysis. RESULTS: In total, 114 caregivers participated. Three major themes were initially identified and included preparation and conservation; consumption and sharing practices as well as perception of impact. The data showed good acceptance at the household level including perceived benefits for the target children, health improvement, prevention of illness and malnutrition. Sharing and gifting at both household and community level were also reported. CONCLUSIONS: Caregivers displayed positive perceptions toward the investigated supplements. Patterns of actual management should be considered in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of future programs.
Malnutrition in Chakradharpur, Jharkhand: an anthropological study of perceptions and care practices from IndiaBackground This study aims to investigate the knowledge, perception and practices related to health, nutrition, care practices, and their effect on nutrition health-seeking behaviour. Methods In order to have maximum representation, we divided Chakradharpur block in Jharkhand state into three zones (north, south and centre regions) and purposively selected 2 Ambulatory Therapeutic Feeding Centre (ATFC) clusters from each zone, along with 2 villages per ATFC (12 villages from 6 ATFCs in total). In-depth interviews and natural group discussions were conducted with mothers/caregivers, frontline health workers (FHWs), Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) staff, community representatives, and social leaders from selected villages. Results We found that the community demonstrates a strong dependence on traditional and cultural practices for health care and nutrition for newborns, infants and young children. Furthermore, the community relies on alternative systems of medicine for treatment of childhood illnesses such as malnutrition. The study indicated that there was limited access to and utilization of local health services by the community. Lack of adequate social safety nets, limited livelihood opportunities, inadequate child care support and care, and seasonal male migration leave mothers and caregivers vulnerable and limit proper child care and feeding practices. With respect to continuum of care, services linking care across households to facilities are fragmented. Limited knowledge of child nutrition amongst mothers and caregivers as well as fragmented service provision contribute to the limited utilization of local health services. Government FHWs and MSF field staff do not have a robust understanding of screening methods, referral pathways, and counselling. Additionally, collaboration between MSF and FHWs regarding cases treated at the ATFC is lacking, disrupting the follow up process with discharged cases in the community. Conclusions For caregivers, there is a need to focus on capacity building in the area of child nutrition and health care provision post-discharge. It is also recommended that children identified as having moderate acute malnutrition be supported to prevent them from slipping into severe acute malnutrition, even if they do not qualify for admission at ATFCs. Community education and engagement are critical components of a successful CMAM program.