Intrahousehold management and use of nutritional supplements during the hunger gap in Maradi region, Niger: a qualitative study
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AbstractBACKGROUND: 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.
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