Topical Area: Maternal, Perinatal and Pediatric Nutrition
We identified lack of knowledge and lack of paternal support as barriers to improved IYCF practices in Ethiopia, the focus of this study. Behavior change communication (BCC) strategies are often used to improve knowledge, but BCC programs commonly target only mothers. The objective of this study is to assess the impact of both paternal and maternal BCC program on complementary feeding practices compared to maternal BCC program alone.
This study is a community-based, clustered randomized controlled trial conducted in Ejere district, Ethiopia. We randomly selected three rural kebeles (ward) and three urban kebeles within the Ejere district. 63 garees (villages) were identified and randomly assigned within selected kebeles into treatment and control groups: T1, maternal BCC only; T2, both maternal BCC and paternal BCC; and C, control. The maternal BCC program and paternal BCC program consisted of weekly one-hour long group sessions for the duration of 16 and 12 weeks, respectively. Both BCC program included messages on improved IYCF practices. In addition, paternal BCC program included messages on gender roles.
Father’s IYCF knowledge increased by 0.31SD when BCC was provided to mothers and by 0.62SD when provided to both mothers and fathers. Although we see spillover of knowledge from BCC from BCC-attending mothers to their partners in maternal BCC group, we see paternal BCC additionally increase father’s knowledge by 0.36SD. The provision of both maternal and paternal BCC group improves child dietary diversity score (CDDS) by 0.64 food groups and increases the likelihood they meet minimum diet diversity by 18 percentage points. However, the additional impact of paternal BCC on child diets is not statistically significant at the 5% level. We see no differential impact on child anthropometry.
Nutrition BCC program that targets both fathers and mothers have greater impact on father’s knowledge, compared to nutrition BCC program that targets mothers only. However, additional knowledge gain has limited impact on IYCF practices.
Funding Sources :
Africa Future Foundation