When complementary foods do not provide enough nutrients for an infant’s health and growth, micronutrient powders (MNP) can fill the gap, ensuring sufficient nutrient intake. The Uganda Ministry of Health (MOH) is conducteing a pilot MNP distribution, in partnership with World Food Programme (WFP), the USAIDÂ¬funded SPRING project, and UNICEF, to understand the effect of MNP in the Ugandan context and explore options for national implementation.
Led by the MOH, each partner works in separate districts to explore effective distribution structures. The partners gather regularly in MOHÂ¬led meetings to discuss accomplishments and report on progress against a set of established indicators. Working with an implementing partner in two eastern districts, WFP examined effectiveness through biomarkers, while UNICEF distributed MNP through district health staff in five districts in southwest Uganda, and SPRING studied costÂ¬effectiveness in the east central region (Namutumba district).
Working with multiple partners has allowed the pilot to thoroughly examine UgandaÂ¬specific barriers and successes to MNP implementation. Regular communication between partners and a commitment to collaboration led to development of MNP materials tailored to the Ugandan context and tested in multiple settings. In addition, common data reporting at the national level has encouraged information sharing and program improvement across all arms of the pilot.
The experience in Uganda demonstrates that strong collaboration with effective leadership by the MOH can provide an opportunity for learning that goes beyond traditional oneÂ¬partner pilot programs. Partners exchanged information about implementation that strengthens the national program while adding to the global evidence base.