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This paper aimed to summarise and critically synthesise the key findings of the articles included in the supplement entitled ‘Nutrition Implementation Science: The Experience of a Large-Scale Home Fortification in Bangladesh’.
Commentary, summary and synthesis.
Low- and middle-income country.
The supplement included six articles, including this summary paper. The second article presented an implementation science framework that facilitated conceptualising and evaluating the home-fortification programme in Bangladesh implemented by the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC). The framework encompasses five components: identifying an ‘effective’ intervention; scaling-up and implementation fidelity; course corrections during implementation and assessing the implementation’s effectiveness; promoting sustainability of interventions and consideration of a concurrent evaluation to identify ‘effective’ interventions and to assess the process and outcome indicators of implementation. The other four articles in this supplement addressed the different components of the framework. For example, the third article addressed the implementation fidelity of a home-fortification programme, and the fourth article described the use of concurrent evaluation to course correct the implementation plan that resulted in improved implementation fidelity. The fifth article explained the outcome of course correction in the programme coverage, and the sixth article described the cost-effectiveness of the BRAC home-fortification programme.
Overall, the supplement provides a comprehensive understanding of nutrition implementation science, which is very new in the field. The lessons learned in this supplement may enhance the capacity of researchers, policymakers and key stakeholders in the nutrition field to scale up new nutrition interventions and sustain them until malnutrition is alleviated.
We estimated the cost-effectiveness of home fortification with micronutrient powder delivered in a sales-based programme in reducing the prevalence of Fe deficiency anaemia among children 6–59 months in Bangladesh.
Cross-sectional interviews with local and central-level programme staff and document reviews were conducted. Using an activity-based costing approach, we estimated start-up and implementation costs of the programme. The incremental cost per anaemia case averted and disability-adjusted life years (DALY) averted were estimated by comparing the home fortification programme and no intervention scenarios.
The home fortification programme was implemented in 164 upazilas (sub-districts) in Bangladesh.
Caregivers of child 6–59 months and BRAC staff members including community health workers were the participants for this study.
The home fortification programme had an estimated total start-up cost of 35·46 million BDT (456 thousand USD) and implementation cost of 1111·63 million BDT (14·12 million USD). The incremental cost per Fe deficiency anaemia case averted and per DALY averted was estimated to be 1749 BDT (22·2 USD) and 12 558 BDT (159·3 USD), respectively. Considering per capita gross domestic product (1516·5 USD) as the cost-effectiveness threshold, the home fortification programme was highly cost-effective. The programme coverage and costs for nutritional counselling of the beneficiary were influential parameters for cost per DALY averted in the one-way sensitivity analysis.
The market-based home fortification programme was a highly cost-effective mechanism for delivering micronutrients to a large number of children in Bangladesh. The policymakers should consider funding and sustaining large-scale sales-based micronutrient home fortification efforts assuming the clear population-level need and potential to benefit persists.
We assessed the role of home visits by Shasthya Shebika (SS) – female volunteer community health workers (CHWs) – in improving the distribution of micronutrient powder (MNP), and explored the independent effects of caregiver–provider interaction on coverage variables.
We used data from three cross-sectional surveys undertaken at baseline (n 1927), midline (n 1924) and endline (n 1540) as part of an evaluation of a home fortification programme. We defined an exposure group as one that had at least one SS visit to the caregiver’s household in the 12 months preceding the survey considering three outcome variables – message (ever heard), contact (ever used) and effective coverage (regular used) of MNP. We performed multiple logistic regressions to explore the determinants of coverage, employed an ‘interaction term’ and calculated an odds ratio (OR) to assess the modifying effect of SS’s home visits on coverage.
Sixty-eight sub-districts from ten districts of Bangladesh.
Children aged 6–59 months and their caregivers.
A home visit from an SS positively impacts message coverage at both midline (ratio of OR 1·70; 95 % CI 1·25, 2·32; P < 0·01) and endline (ratio of OR 3·58; 95 % CI 2·22, 5·78; P < 0·001), and contact coverage both at midline (ratio of OR 1·48; 95 % CI 1·06, 2·07; P = 0·021) and endline (ratio of OR 1·74; 95 % CI 1·23, 2·47; P = 0·002). There was no significant effect of a SS’s home visit on effective coverage.
The households visited by BRAC’s volunteer CHWs have better message and contact coverage among the children aged 6–59 months.
This paper focuses on the use of ‘concurrent evaluation’ to evaluate a nationally scaled-up programme in Bangladesh that was implemented by BRAC (an international development organisation) using Shasthya Shebika (SS) – volunteer community health workers – to promote home fortification with micronutrient powders (MNP) for children under-five.
We developed a programme impact pathway to conceptualise the implementation and evaluation strategy and developed a strategic partnership among the key programme stakeholders for better use of evaluation evidence. We developed a multi-method concurrent evaluation strategy to provide insights into the BRAC programme and created provision for course correction to the implementation plan while it was in operation.
One hundred sixty-four sub-districts and six urban slums in Bangladesh.
Caregivers of children 6–59 months, SS and BRAC’s staff members.
The evaluation identified low awareness about home fortification among caregivers, inadequate supply and frequent MNP stockouts, and inadequate skills of BRAC’s SS to promote MNP at the community level as hindrances to the achievement of programme goals. The partners regularly discussed evaluation results during and after implementation activities to assess progress in programme coverage and any needs for modification. BRAC initiated a series of corrections to the original implementation plan to address these challenges, which improved the design of the MNP programme; this resulted in enhanced programme outcomes.
Concurrent evaluation is an innovative approach to evaluate complex real-world programmes. Here it was utilised in implementing a large-scale nutrition programme to measure implementation process and effectiveness.
The aim of this paper is to identify and develop a comprehensive conceptual framework using implementation science that can be applied to assess a nutrition intervention in a real-world setting.
We conducted a narrative review using electronic databases and a manual search to identify implementation science frameworks, models and theories published in peer-reviewed journals. We performed a qualitative thematic analysis of these publications to generate a framework that could be applied to nutrition implementation science.
Based on this review, we developed a comprehensive framework which we have conceptualised as an implementation science process that describes the transition from the use of scientific evidence through to scaling-up with the aim of making an intervention sustainable. The framework consisted of three domains: Domain i – efficacy to effectiveness trials, Domain ii – scaling-up and Domain iii – sustainability. These three domains encompass five components: identifying an ‘effective’ intervention; scaling-up and implementation fidelity; course corrections during implementation; promoting sustainability of interventions and consideration of a comprehensive methodological paradigm to identify ‘effective’ interventions and to assess the process and outcome indicators of implementation. The framework was successfully applied to a nutrition implementation program in Bangladesh.
Our conceptual framework built from an implantation science perspective offers a comprehensive approach supported by a foundational and holistic understanding of its key components. This framework provides guidance for implementation researchers, policy-makers and programme managers to identify and review an effective intervention, to scale it up and to sustain it over time.
BRAC, an international development organization based in Bangladesh, engages community health workers called Shasthya Shebikas (SS) to implement home fortification of foods with micronutrient powders (MNP). We identified factors associated with home visits by SS, at different levels of the BRAC programme-delivery hierarchy, to implement home-fortification interventions.
We conducted a cross-sectional survey, semi-structured interviews, and collected programme-related data from sub-districts included in the caregiver survey of BRAC’s home-fortification programme and performed multilevel logistic regression modelling to investigate factors associated with home visits by SS.
Sixty-eight sub-districts in Bangladesh.
Caregivers of children aged 6–59 months (n 1408) and BRAC’s SS (n 201).
Households with older children (0·55; 0·42, 0·72; P < 0·001) and located >300 m from the SS’s house (0·67; 0·50, 0·89; P = 0·006) were less likely to have been visited by the SS, whereas those with caregivers who had ≥5 years of schooling (1·53; 1·10, 2·12; P = 0·011) were more likely to have been visited by the SS (adjusted OR; 95 % CI). Households in the catchment area of older SS aged >50 years (0·44; 0·21, 0·90; P = 0·025) were less likely to have been visited by the SS, whereas those with SS who received incentives of >800 BDT (3·00; 1·58, 5·58; P = 0·001) were more likely to have been visited by the SS (adjusted OR; 95 % CI).
The number of home visits is a function of the characteristics of SS, factors that characterize the households they serve and characteristics of their organizational context, particularly to implement home fortification of foods with MNP.
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