To evaluate the sustainability of market-based community distribution of micronutrient powders (Sprinkles®, Hexagon Nutrition, Mumbai, India) among pre-school children in Kenya, we conducted in August 2010 a follow-up survey, 18 months after study-related marketing and household monitoring ended.
We surveyed 849 children aged 6–35 months randomly selected from 60 study villages. Nutritional biomarkers were measured by fingerstick; demographic characteristics, Sprinkles purchases and use were assessed through household questionnaires. We compared Sprinkles use, marketing efforts and biomarker levels with the data from surveys conducted in March 2007, March 2008 and March 2009. We used logistic regression to evaluate associations between marketing activities and Sprinkles use in the 2010 survey.
At the 2010 follow-up, 21.9% of children used Sprinkles in the previous 7 days, compared with 64.9% in 2008 (P < 0.001). Average intake was 3.2 sachets week-1 in 2008, 1.6 sachets week-1 in 2009 and 1.1 sachets week-1 in 2010 (P < 0.001). Factors associated with recent Sprinkles use in 2010 included young age [6–23 months vs. 24–35 months, adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 1.5, P = 0.02], lowest 2 quintiles of socio-economic status (aOR = 1.7, P = 0.004), household attendance at trainings or launches (aOR = 2.8,P < 0.001) and ever receiving promotional items including free Sprinkles, calendars, cups and t-shirts (aOR = 1.7, P = 0.04). In 2010, there was increased prevalence of anaemia and malaria (P < 0.001), but not iron deficiency (P = 0.44), compared with that in 2008. Sprinkles use in 2010 was associated with decreased iron deficiency (P = 0.03).
Sprinkles coverage reduced after stopping household monitoring and reducing marketing activities. Continued promotion and monitoring of Sprinkles usage may be important components to sustain the programme.