Multiple micronutrient (MMN) supplement was introduced as a home fortificant for children aged 6 to 23 months, in 12 out of 25 districts in Sri Lanka as a measure to control anaemia.The objective of this study was to assess the effectiveness of MMN program to guide scaling up of this programme.
The pre and post assessment was done using data from two representative national nutrition surveys conducted in 2009 and 2012.
Results revealed that only 45.2% of the children have ever received MMN powder. Of the recipients, the majority (85%) of them had used MMN powder between the ages 6 and 12 months, using it either daily or every other day (89.4%). Results showed a significant reduction in the prevalence of anaemia in children aged 6-23 months by 11.7%, and an increase in mean Hb level by 0.3 g per dl. There was a statistically significant reduction in the prevalence of iron deficiency anaemia among recipients of MMN (10.1%) in comparison to non-recipients (15.7%). Reasons for poor coverage were non receipt, noncompliance with the protocol, delays in supply chain and distribution from the center to the periphery.
In conclusions, MMN supplementation has clear benefits in reducing iron deficiency anaemia in children between 6-24 months. It is recommended to scale up MMN supplementation to other nutritionally vulnerable districts in Sri Lanka. It is important to streamline the procurement, supply chain and distribution process of MMN powder to ensure an uninterrupted supply with an inbuilt monitoring system.