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Research Article

Home-fortification in emergency response and transition programming: Experiences in Aceh and Nias, Indonesia. Food & Nutrition Bulletin 2007;28(2):189-97.

De Pee S, Moench-Pfanner R, Martini E, Zlotkin S, Darton-Hill I, Bloem MW.

Background: Improving the nutritional status of an emergency-affected population is essential, because undernutrition increases infection risk and is linked to more than 50% of childhood deaths in developing countries. Emergency food aid addresses nutritional needs, including micronutrient deficiencies, but is provided only for a limited time and uses few items, so the needs of specific target groups are often not fully met.

Objective: To describe the post-tsunami experience with distribution of Vitalita Sprinkles in Aceh and Nias and to analyze the monitoring data gathered for the emergency response.

Methods: International agencies such as Helen Keller International and partners provided micronutrients in response to the tsunami emergency in Aceh and Nias and to analyze the monitoring data gathered for the emergency response.

Results: In March and April 2006, the percentage of children aged 6 months to 59 months who had consumed Vitalita in the previous month was more than 70% in 5 of 11 districts evaluated, 40% to 70% in another five districts, and 32% in one district. An independent survey found 25% less anemia among recipients. Almost all mothers interviewed during March to April 2006 (96.3%) had heard about Vitalita and recognized its packaging, 69% said that Vitalita contained vitamins for under-fives, 86% knew the appropriate target group for Vitalita, and 83% said it had to be mixed with solid food. Of the 26% that reported not having given Vitalita to their child in the last month, 90.5% said that their child did not like it.

Conclusions and lessons learned: Because the product, including its concept, was new, appropriate information and training was required as well as a thorough introduction to the beneficiaries, particularly on proper use, to ensure acceptance. This experience demonstrates that providing micronutrients as part of emergency relief and transition programming, as recently recommended by the World Health Organization/UNICEF/World Food Program, is feasible.

Key Words: Emergencies; home fortification; multimicronutrients; Sprinkles; tsunami relief

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