Working with a team of eight trained data collectors, SPRING staff in Uganda conducted a midline assessment through key informant interviews with MNP users and distributors to inform efforts to strengthen micronutrient powder (MNP) distribution. Caretakers of children eligible for MNP use (between 6 and 23 months of age), village health teams (VHT), and facility-based health workers answered questions about the successes they have seen in the program so far, as well as the barriers that need to be addressed. Interviews with caretakers focused on perceptions of MNP, feeding habits, and MNP use, while distributors described their interactions with communities and experiences delivering MNP to clients. Preliminary findings indicate that while acceptance of the product is high, access can still be difficult and many community members still have questions about the product.
These two-weeks of data collection feed into SPRING’s monthly monitoring system that tracks the quantitative aspects of MNP distribution and use through household spot checks, routine reporting forms by distributors, and regular stock reporting. SPRING carried out the data collection to improve the reach and effectiveness of the program, as well as inform planning for the endline survey at the end of 2016. During the remainder of the pilot, SPRING will improve access to MNPs and clarify MNP safety and use concerns by intensifying its messaging activities, increasing capacity building for distributors, and expanding engagement of district officials.
Between March and May 2016, SPRING supplied community health volunteers and health workers with micronutrient powder for nearly 38,000 children in Namutumba District. This distribution is part of a nine-month Ministry of Health-led research pilot comparing distribution by village health teams (VHT) to facility-based health workers. Results from this pilot will be used to develop a plan for scaling-up MNP use to the rest of the country, as well as inform ongoing discussions with MOH and other partners regarding policy and guideline revisions.