One in every third under five children in Bangladesh is anemic as children are generally fed traditional family food often lacking adequate bioavailable iron. Home based fortification of food with multiple micronutrient powder (MNP) has recently been established through research as an effective way to address this problem. BRAC initiated promotion of MNP usage in 2009. The present study undertaken to map MNP usage among 6-59 months old children in the Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN) project areas and explore the factors associated with it. A cross-sectional study was conducted with a mixed method design. Following multistage random sampling, 4616 children were finally selected from 10 MIYCN districts and two urban slums and quantitative information was collected. Qualitative tools and techniques such as In-Depth Interview (IDI), Focus Group Discussion (FGD) and Informal Discussion (ID) were also employed on fathers, mothers and grandmothers of the selected targeted children. Findings from the study show that knowledge/information was not adequately translated into practice as only half of the mothers who ever heard the name of MNP (57%) actually fed (26.2%) MNP to their children. Six months information prior to survey revealed that nearly 13% mothers ever fed and 2.5% effectively fed (60 or more sachets in 6 months) MNP to their children with percentages being notably higher among 6-24 months old children and those living in rural areas. Mothers believed that MNP fulfils nutritional requirements, is good for child health, fosters intellectual development, promotes child growth and reduces anemia. Several mothers avoided MNP believing that family food was enough for children, one third reported that they were unaware of the place where MNP was available. Other reasons were economic constraint, lack of appetite, vomiting and diarrhoea after eating etc. The study concluded that awareness level should be increased through promotional activities involving different community stakeholders. Specialised training and proper incentivisation of CHWs could be helpful
in this regard.
Keywords: Anemia; MIYCN; MNP; promotional activities; CHWs