To compare the incidence of wasting, stunting, and mortality among children aged 6 to 36 months who are receiving preventive supplementation with either ready-to-use supplementary foods (RUSFs) or ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTFs).
Children aged 6 to 36 months in 12 villages of Maradi, Niger, (n = 1645) received a monthly distribution of RUSFs (247 kcal [3 spoons] per day) for 6 months or RUTFs (500-kcal sachet per day) for 4 months. We compared the incidence of wasting, stunting, and mortality among children who received preventive supplementation with RUSFs versus RUTFs.
The effectiveness of RUSF supplementation depended on receipt of a previous preventive intervention. In villages in which a preventive supplementation program was previously implemented, the RUSF strategy was associated with a 46% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 6%-69%) and 59% (95% CI: 17%-80%) reduction in wasting and severe wasting, respectively. In contrast, in villages in which the previous intervention was not implemented, we found no difference in the incidence of wasting or severe wasting according to type of supplementation. Compared with the RUTF strategy, the RUSF strategy was associated with a 19% (95% CI: 0%-34%) reduction in stunting overall.
We found that the relative performance of a 6-month RUSF supplementation strategy versus a 4-month RUTF strategy varied with receipt of a previous nutritional intervention. Contextual factors will continue to be important in determining the dose and duration of supplementation that will be most effective, acceptable, and sustainable for a given setting.
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"There is a growing precedent for the use of PSMs to evaluate 'natural experiments', e.g. the effects of remittances on disaster preparedness (Mohapatra et al. 2012), and domestic and international policies, e.g. the effects of foreign aid on civil conflict intensity (Strandow, 2014). PSMs have been used to evaluate planned interventions in humanitarian crises, such as food supplementation for children in Niger (Isanaka et al. 2010). In relation to demobilization and reintegration humanitarian programs for former combatants, studies in Burundi and Sierra Leone have employed PSMs to evaluate economic impacts (Humphreys & Weinstein, 2007; Gilligan et al. 2013). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ethical, logistical, and funding approaches preclude conducting randomized control trials (RCTs) in some humanitarian crises. A lack of RCTs and other intervention research has contributed to a limited evidence-base for mental health and psychosocial support (MHPS) programs after disasters, war, and disease outbreaks. Propensity score methods (PSMs) are an alternative analysis technique with potential application for evaluating MHPS programs in humanitarian emergencies.
PSMs were used to evaluate impacts of education reintegration packages (ERPs) and other (vocational or economic) reintegration packages (ORPs)
no reintegration programs on mental health of child soldiers. Propensity scores were used to determine weighting of child soldiers in each of the three treatment arms. Multiple linear regression was used to estimate adjusted changes in symptom score severity on culturally validated measures of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and functional impairment from baseline to 1-year follow-up.
Among 258 Nepali child soldiers participating in reintegration programs, 54.7% completed ERP and 22.9% completed ORP. There was a non-significant reduction in depression by 0.59 (95% CI −1.97 to 0.70) for ERP and by 0.60 (95% CI −2.16 to 0.96) for ORP compared with no treatment. There were non-significant increases in PTSD (1.15, 95% CI −1.55 to 3.86) and functional impairment (0.91, 95% CI −0.31 to 2.14) associated with ERP and similar findings for ORP (PTSD: 0.66, 95% CI −2.24 to 3.57; functional impairment (1.05, 95% CI −0.71 to 2.80).
In a humanitarian crisis in which a non-randomized intervention assignment protocol was employed, the statistical technique of PSMs addressed differences in covariate distribution between child soldiers who received different integration packages. Our analysis did not demonstrate significant changes in psychosocial outcomes for ERPs and ORPs. We suggest the use of PSMs in evaluating non-randomized interventions in humanitarian crises when non-randomized conditions are not utilized.
"• Ready-to-Use Food (RUF) includes both RUTF and RUSF, which are nutrient dense foods packed in sachets. RUTF as compared with RUSF provide larger quantities of energy and micronutrients needed for treating patients classified as SAM . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
One way of addressing malnutrition among HIV/AIDS patients is through the Food by Prescription program (FBP) and many studies have explained the treatment outcomes after therapeutic food supplementation, though available evidences on adherence levels and factors associated with these sorts of programs are limited. The findings of this study would therefore contribute to the existing knowledge on adherence to Ready-to-Use Therapeutic/Supplementary Food (RUF) in Ethiopia.
A facility-based, cross-sectional study supplemented with qualitative methods was conducted among 630 adult HIV + patients. Their level of adherence to RUF was measured using the Morisky 8-item Medication Adherence Scale (MMAS-8). The total score on the MMAS-8 ranges from 0 to 8, with scores of <6, 6 to <8, and 8 reflecting low, medium, and high adherence, respectively. Patients who had a low or a moderate rate of adherence were considered non-adherent.
The level of adherence was found to be 36.3% with a 95.0% response rate. With the exception of the educational status, other socio-demographic variables had no significant effect on adherence. Those who knew the benefits of the FBP program were 1.78 times more likely to adhere to the therapy than the referent groups. On the other hand, patients who were not informed on the duration of the treatment, those prescribed with more than 2 sachets/day and had been taking RUF for more than 4 month were less likely to adhere. The main reasons for non-adherence were not liking the way the food tasted and missing follow-up appointments. Stigma and sharing and selling food were the other reasons, as deduced from the focus group discussion (FGD) findings.
The observed level of adherence to the FBP program among respondents enrolled in the intervention program was low. The major factors identified with a low adherence were a low level of education, poor knowledge on the benefits of RUF, the longer duration of the program, consuming more than two prescribed sachets of RUF per day, and not being informed about the duration of the treatment. Therefore, counseling patients on the program’s benefits, including the treatment plans, would likely contribute to improved adherence.
"Further assessments have compared the effects of LNS with other treatments on common childhood illnesses, including diarrhea, cough, fever and malaria. While several such studies found no difference in morbidity rates attributable to LNS [6,14-17,21], some found beneficial effects on morbidity of RUSF  and RUTF . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite growing interest in use of lipid nutrient supplements for preventing child malnutrition and morbidity, there is inconclusive evidence on the effectiveness, and no evidence on the cost-effectiveness of this strategy.
A cost effectiveness analysis was conducted comparing costs and outcomes of two arms of a cluster randomized controlled trial implemented in eastern Chad during the 2010 hunger gap by Action contre la Faim France and Ghent University. This trial assessed the effect on child malnutrition and morbidity of a 5-month general distribution of staple rations, or staple rations plus a ready-to-use supplementary food (RUSF). RUSF was distributed to households with a child aged 6--36 months who was not acutely malnourished (weight-for-height > = 80% of the NCHS reference median, and absence of bilateral pitting edema), to prevent acute malnutrition in these children. While the addition of RUSF to a staple ration did not result in significant reduction in wasting rates, cost-effectiveness was assessed using successful secondary outcomes of cases of diarrhea and anemia (hemoglobin <110 g/L) averted among children receiving RUSF.Total costs of the program and incremental costs of RUSF and related management and logistics were estimated using accounting records and key informant interviews, and include costs to institutions and communities. An activity-based costing methodology was applied and incremental costs were calculated per episode of diarrhea and case of anemia averted.
Adding RUSF to a general food distribution increased total costs by 23%, resulting in an additional cost per child of 374 EUR, and an incremental cost per episode of diarrhea averted of 1,083 EUR and per case of anemia averted of 3,627 EUR.
Adding RUSF to a staple ration was less cost-effective than other standard intervention options for averting diarrhea and anemia. This strategy holds potential to address a broad array of health and nutrition outcomes in emergency settings where infrastructure is weak and other intervention options are infeasible in the short-term. However, further research is needed to establish the contexts in which RUSF is most effective and cost-effective in preventing acute malnutrition and morbidity among vulnerable children, compared to other options.