In 2010 and 2011, the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Infant & Young Child Nutrition (IYCN) Project provided technical assistance to the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) to promote appropriate complementary feeding practices and encourage increased use of high-quality, fortified complementary foods to curb malnutrition among children 6-23 months of age.
Working in nine districts of Ghana’s Brong Ahafo Region, the project used a social marketing approach to engage households and communities through radio spots, radio discussions with community health workers and community leaders, and use of social and behavior change communication materials. These behavior change techniques aimed to increase knowledge and application of appropriate complementary feeding practices among low-income households caring for young children.
Behaviour change communication and/or counselling for improved complementary feeding was reported to the Global Nutrition Policy Review (GNPR) 2009-2010SamplingStudy participants were drawn from 45 communities in the nine project districts. The communities were selected based on the presence of mother support groups and church-based groups. In each district, purposeful sampling was used to select the female caregivers.1 The criterion used for selecting female respondents was that they were caregivers of children 6-24 months. Fathers2 of children 6-24 months, health workers, and community group leaders were selected using convenience sampling. Data collection methodsBoth qualitative and quantitative methods were used to conduct this study. Data were collected using a structured survey, in-depth interviews, and focus group discussions (FGDs) (see Appendix 2 for the study tools). Findings from all three sources were triangulated for the purpose of validation.Structured surveyEach study community was divided into six sub-areas, and one caregiver was selected from each sampled household within each sub-area, for a total of six participants per community.3Households in the cluster were numbered, and one was randomly selected. In a sampled household where there was more than one caregiver for the child aged 6-24 months, data collectors purposefully sampled for the interview one mother or caregiver who regularly fed the index child. In a situation where the selected caregiver had more than one child aged 6-24 months, the older one was selected as the index child. In-depth interviewsBased on the classification of health facilities in Brong Ahafo Region, we identified and selected four categories to use in the data collection exercise: district hospitals, clinics, health centers, and Community-Based Health Planning and Services compounds. In each district, five health workers were interviewed, including two health workers from the district hospital responsible for child welfare clinics (growth monitoring sessions) and one from each of the other three facility categories. Leaders of mother support groups and church-based groups at the community level whose activities could impact infant and young child feeding practices were also interviewed. In each district, five of these groups were randomly selected from a list of such groups within the district. Identification and sampling of the groups was done with the help of district-level health staff.
From October 2010 to December 2011, the project:•Aired 855 radio spots with key messages on complementary feeding on Radio BAR, Omega FM, Success FM, Jerryson FM, Chris FM, Adarz FM, Star FM, and Royals FM. An additional 340 spots are scheduled to air in January 2012.Distributed 5,860 posters with key messages.Distributed 19,428 flyers with key messages.Trained 196 health workers and 137 community group leaders in appropriate complementary feeding practices and the use of BCC materials. Reached around 2,500 community group members with appropriate complementary feeding messages through trained group leaders.
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