Creating a Market Solution to Treat Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM) in Rural Nigeria
Owens Wiwa of the Clinton Health Access Initiative in the U.S. will determine whether providing free vouchers for mothers to receive a nutrient-dense food can help infants with moderate acute malnutrition in Nigeria. By linking the vouchers to attendance at immunization clinics, they also hope to boost immunization coverage. Malnutrition is a major public health concern in Nigeria, where almost one third of children are underweight, and ten percent are wasted. However, improving nutrition in poor and rural households is difficult because of a lack of education and limited access to nutritional foods. They will pilot test their approach in a randomized controlled trial at two locations by training healthcare workers at immunization centers to council mothers on feeding practices and to monitor infant growth to identify malnutrition. The mothers of malnourished infants between six and 23 months old will be provided with vouchers to receive three months' worth of an existing fortified food, which will be provided at a local health facility. They will evaluate the effect of their approach on the infants' nutritional status and immunization coverage.