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Positive deviance approach in improving child health outcomes: a participatory assessment of child feeding practices in Marsabit county, Kenya
Rose Chepkorir1, Caroline Musita2
1Maseno University, Public Health, Kenya
2Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Dept. of Community Health and Development, School of Public Health, Kenya
In order to sustain the gains made by promoting Exclusive Breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life, interventions need to extend into the second half of infancy and beyond. In Marsabit County, EBF rates are so high yet malnutrition rates among the under- fives still remains high. This has been attributed to challenges in complementary feeding. In the same setting however, there are children with good health and nutrition status. This could be attributed to caregivers successfully applying positive deviant child feeding practices. Thus this study aimed at determining the positive deviant child feeding practices through participatory assessment in Marsabit, Kenya, in order to promote introduction of nutrient dense complementary feeds and positive deviant child feeding practices in the region.
Data was gathered from consenting mothers and caregivers of children aged 6 to 24 months, in 9 Focus Group Discussions consisting of 10-12 mothers each. Child food samples for nutrient content determination were also collected after completion of each FGD session. Resulting data from the FGDs was categorized into four major themes. These include: Knowledge and perception of the mothers and the caregivers on quality of child feeds, medicinal foods, positive deviant child feeding practices and the nutrient contents of child feeds in Marsabit County. This study showed that indigenous local knowledge is input into the feeding of children. Mothers give variety of feeds including porridge mix prepared from various mixture of flour which include cereals, legumes, nuts and seeds which they perceive to be highly nutritious thus their children grow healthy and strong. Varied medicinal foods in the community are used for either prevention or treatment purposes. Fenugreek seeds boiled in milk is widely used to boost body immunity and in treating stomach upsets in children.
In the next steps, knowledge exchange and creation sessions amongst the mothers will be conducted on positive deviant child feeding practices and nutrient value of child feeds.
Keywords: Child feeding, health, maternal knowledge, medicinal foods, positive deviance
Contact Address: Rose Chepkorir, Maseno University, Public Health, Kericho, Kenya, e-mail: rosechepkorir2013gmail.com