The effectiveness of integrated community-based nutrition interventions in improving infant and young child feeding practices in Palestine: a randomized control trial
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Faculty of Public, Al Quds University, Jerusalem, Occupied Palestinian Territory
Faculty of Public Health, Al Quds University, Occupied Palestinian Territory
World Vision Jerusalem-West Bank-Gaza, Occupied Palestinian Territory
Faculty of Health Profession, Al Quds University, Occupied Palestinian Territory
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1082
Background and Objective: Child nutrition remains an urgent issue in Palestine. Various sources indicate widespread inappropriate family practices, particularly regarding infant and young child feeding (IYCF). Several sources indicate that good nutritional outcomes in infants and young children require maternal support through mental health and psychosocial support (PSS). Therefore, this study aims to test the effectiveness of integrated community-based nutrition-PSS interventions in improving IYCF practices in vulnerable communities in Palestine Methods: A cluster randomization trial was conducted on 26 vulnerable communities in the West Bank. The sample included 469 pregnant mothers, of which 231 were assigned randomly to the control group and 238 were assigned to the intervention group. Data were collected from both groups at the baseline and the end-line of the survey. Pregnant women in the intervention clusters were supported with the integrated package including PSS and nutrition, whereas, pregnant women in the comparison group were supported with stand-alone nutrition intervention. Results: Exclusive breastfeeding for six months was practiced by 70% of mothers in the intervention group (a 30% increase), compared with 55% in the control group. Compared to 59% of mothers in the control group, 76% of mothers in the intervention group offered complimentary meals on time. The minimum meal diversity was introduced to 68% of children in the intervention group, compared with 60% in the control group. Also, 41% of children in the intervention group were introduced to the minimum meal frequency, compared to 10% in the control group. Conclusions: Providing PSS to mothers significantly improves IYCF practices more than stand-alone nutrition interventions. Therefore, the implementation of these integrated packages over a longer duration is needed to witness a significant reduction in the prevalence of malnutrition.