Micronutrient powders (MNP) are thought to be a cost-effective intervention for reducing iron deficiency and anaemia.An external evaluation of the Lao PDR SuperKid Home Fortification programme was conducted to determine the cost efficiency of two models, free-public and market-based distribution in the first three years of project implementation.
Budgets were self-reported by UNICEF and PSI and categorized by the research team. Public distribution records and sales data were used to determine approximate coverage rates for the two distribution models (74.3% and 7.3%, respectively), allowing for an estimate of per-sachet cost. The market-based coverage rate is an estimated maximum rate based on the assumption that all boxes of SuperKid purchased by outlets were sold and sold to a unique child.
It was determined that it cost $0.16 (USD) to deliver each sachet in the public distribution, and $1.10 (USD) to deliver each sachet in the market-based distribution when the total budget comprising all initial costs for programme development and implementation for each of the two models was applied to estimated coverage rates for each model.
Initial programme costs for Lao PDR were much higher than estimates used in the Copenhagen Consensus, regardless of distribution method. Therefore, it would be advisable to appropriately factor in this large initial investment when financing micronutrient interventions in other countries. Public distribution is a much cheaper distribution method in the short-term, though market-based distribution has the potential to become more cost-efficient if a consumer base is built.