Multiple micronutrient powders (MNPs) are effective in improving micronutrient intakes. MNPs were introduced for the first time in rural Oromia and SNNPR, Ethiopia. The objective of this study was to evaluate MNP acceptance and adherence among mothers of children 6-23 months. We assessed knowledge, attitude and actual adherence to correct MNP use (according to feeding instructions, at least 15 MNP sachets per month).
Data on knowledge, attitude and practices were collected using a questionnaire, administered monthly among 1,170 mothers of children who received MNPs. In addition, focus group discussions and in-depth interviews were conducted to examine barriers of MNP use and adherence.
Data from the first round (November, 2015) indicated positive results: mothers reported high MNP acceptance and 74.0% reported to provide all 15 sachets to their children. However, only 30% knew how to use and prepare MNPs according to instructions. Effects seen after taking MNP were a more active and healthy child and increase in appetite. Determinants of acceptance of the MNPs included free provision of MNP and governmental cooperation. Presence of diarrhoea, and forgetfulness of MNP negatively influenced adherence. The main complaints of mothers were lack of clarity about MNPs preparation, high time investment to collect MNPs, and lack of perceived benefit for themselves.
In rural Ethiopia, MNPs were well accepted and mothers reported positive effects on activity and appetite of their children. In future, the program should consider improved instructions for use and compensation for the mothers.