Studies, Reviews and Research

Effectiveness of Community-based Infant and Young Child (IYCF) Support Group Model in Reducing Child Undernutrition Among Ethnic Minorities in Vietnam

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Save the Children Vietnam

This child nutrition project was implemented at Thuong Xuan District in Than Hoa province in Northern Vietnam and was jointly designed to be a community-based infant and young child (IYCF) support group model with Alive & Thrive as an SBCC intervention for the mountainous region.

The project was funded by Irish Aid and was operational between 2012-2017. At the end of the project period, this effectiveness review was carried out to assess the impact of the IYCF support group in improving child feeding practices and reducing stunting among children under two years. The study used a quasi-experimental design, comparing the intervention group of households from villages where groups were formed and maintained with a matched comparison group from neighbouring communities who did not receive the intervention, using a Propensity Score Matching (PSM) technique, which ensured the matched households were well balanced.

The study found that the knowledge on appropriate child feeding practices of intervention group mothers improved significantly, and, on average, they scored 12.6 percentage points (pp) higher on breastfeeding and 14 pp higher on complementary feeding knowledge tests than comparison group mothers. The intervention group also showed significant improvement in reported handwashing with water and soap before eating (effect: 15.5 pp), before feeding the child (effect: 17.4 pp), after using the toilet (effect: 19.9 pp), and after cleaning baby’s faeces (effect: 20.6 pp). A significant impact was also observed for minimum dietary diversity (effect: 19.4 pp) but not for other breastfeeding or complementary feeding indicators. No evidence of impact on linear growth (i.e. stunting) was found.

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