Encouraging adherence and correct utilization is a costly challenge when implementing Home Fortification programmes with micronutrient powders (MNP). In Lao PDR, Village Lao Womens Union Volunteers (VLWUV) play an integral role in programme implementation.To assess the effectiveness of VLWUV at implementing the SuperKid programme.
An external review was conducted. Qualitative methods were employed to gather information from beneficiaries, VLWUV and other implementing groups. Interviews were conducted through convenience sampling and used a semi-structured format that allowed for further exploration of participants responses.
The inclusion of VLWUV ensures each village has a volunteer to assist healthcare providers (HCP) in mobilization, training and distribution (where language can be a barrier in ethnic communities) as well as conduct routine home visits and group discussions to supplement quarterly health education activities. Thirteen out of 15 VLWUV interviewed stated they conducted home visits 1-3 times per month, with more caregivers in rural villages without health centres stating they had received a home visit from a VLWU than those in villages with health centres. Over two-thirds of caregivers reported having attended at least one group discussion about SuperKid led by a VLWUV.
Inclusion of VLWUV has greatly impacted the uptake of SuperKid by caregivers, with high acceptability and adherence observed. VLWUV provide valuable support to caregivers whose children are participating in the SuperKid programme, as their role in community monitoring through home visits and group discussions enables them to effectively respond to caregivers concerns in a more timely manner than HCP.